Mutual regulatory interactions of the trunk gap genes during blastoderm patterning in the hemipteran Oncopeltus fasciatus

Jonathan Ben-David, Ariel D. Chipman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations

Abstract

The early embryo of the milkweed bug, Oncopeltus fasciatus, appears as a single cell layer - the embryonic blastoderm - covering the entire egg. It is at this blastoderm stage that morphological domains are first determined, long before the appearance of overt segmentation. Central to the process of patterning the blastoderm into distinct domains are a group of transcription factors known as gap genes. In Drosophila melanogaster these genes form a network of interactions, and maintain sharp expression boundaries through strong mutual repression. Their restricted expression domains define specific areas along the entire body. We have studied the expression domains of the four trunk gap gene homologues in O. fasciatus and have determined their interactions through dsRNA gene knockdown experiments, followed by expression analyses. While the blastoderm in O. fasciatus includes only the first six segments of the embryo, the expression domains of the gap genes within these segments are broadly similar to those in Drosophila where the blastoderm includes all 15 segments. However, the interactions between the gap genes are surprisingly different from those in Drosophila, and mutual repression between the genes seems to play a much less significant role. This suggests that the well-studied interaction pattern in Drosophila is evolutionarily derived, and has evolved from a less strongly interacting network.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)140-149
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Volume346
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2010

Keywords

  • Blastoderm patterning
  • Gap gene
  • Segmentation
  • Short germ

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