Homeotic functions of the Teashirt transcription factor during adult Drosophila development
During Drosophila development region-specific regulation of target genes by Hox proteins is modulated by genetic interactions with various cofactors and genetic collaborators. During embryogenesis one such modulator of Hox target specificity is the zinc-finger transcription factor Teashirt (Tsh) that is expressed in the developing trunk and cooperatively functions with trunk-specific Hox proteins to promote appropriate segment fate. This embryonic function of Tsh is characterized as homeotic since loss of embryonic Tsh activity leads to transformation of trunk segments toward head identity. In addition to this embryonic homeotic role, Tsh also performs vital Hox-independent functions through patterning numerous embryonic, larval and adult structures. Here we address whether the homeotic function of Tsh is maintained throughout development by investigating its contribution to patterning the adult abdomen. We show that Tsh is expressed throughout the developing abdomen and that this expression is dependent on the three Bithorax Hox proteins Ultrabithorax, Abdominal-A and Abdominal-B. Conditional reduction of Tsh activity during pupation reveals broad homeotic roles for this transcription factor throughout the adult abdomen. Additionally we show that, as during embryogenesis, the tsh paralog tiptop (tio) plays a partially redundant role in this homeotic activity. (C) 2012. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.