T48 is involved in gastrulation in Drosophila

Verena Koelsch, Thomas Seher, Maria Leptin. University of Cologne, Institute for Genetics, Cologne, Germany.

Gastrulation in Drosophila is controlled by the transcription factors twist and snail. In mutants for these genes the mesoderm does not invaginate. The known targets of Twist and Snail such as folded gastrulation cannot be the only genes required for ventral furrow formation, because their phenotypes are less severe: gastrulation is delayed but eventually the mesoderm invaginates. We have screened a collection of deficiencies for other genes that contribute to ventral furrow formation. We found that embryos lacking region 97A-98A show a clear gastrulation phenotype: the invagination of the mesoderm is delayed but not completely blocked. We have identified the gene T48 responsible for the phenotype. T48 is expressed in the early mesoderm and is regulated by Twist. It encodes for a transmembrane protein and has a PDZ-binding motif at the C-terminal end. We are currently analysing the role of T48 and its potential interaction partners during ventral furrow formation.

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