The multiple roles of caudal in early development of the milkweed bug Oncopeltus fasciatus

Asya V. Novikova, Tzach Auman, Mira Cohen, Olesya Oleynik, Reut Stahi-Hitin, Ella Gil, Anat Weisbrod, Ariel D. Chipman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The homeobox transcription factor Caudal has conserved roles in all Bilateria in defining the posterior pole and in controlling posterior elongation. These roles are seemingly similar and are difficult to disentangle. We have carried out a detailed analysis of the expression, function and interactions of the caudal ortholog of the milkweed bug, Oncopeltus fasciatus, a hemimetabolous insect with a conservative early development process, in order to understand its different functions throughout development. In Oncopeltus, caudal is not maternally deposited, but has a sequence of roles in the posterior of the embryos throughout early development. It defines and maintains a posterior-anterior gradient in the blastoderm and modulates the activity of segmentation genes in simultaneous segmentation during the blastoderm stage. It later defines the invagination site and the posterior segment addition zone (SAZ) in the germband. It maintains the posterior SAZ cells in an undifferentiated proliferative state, while promoting dynamic expression of segmentation genes in the anterior SAZ. We show that rather than being a simple posterior determinant, Caudal is involved in several distinct regulatory networks, each with a distinct developmental role.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)66-76
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Inc.


  • Axis elongation
  • Axis formation
  • GRN
  • Transcription factor
  • evo-devo


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