MicroRNA-dependent regulation of Hox gene expression sculpts fine-grain morphological patterns in a Drosophila appendage

Kaschula, Richard, Pinho, Sofia and Alonso, Claudio R (2018) MicroRNA-dependent regulation of Hox gene expression sculpts fine-grain morphological patterns in a Drosophila appendage. Development, 145 (20). dev161133. ISSN 0950-1991

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Disruptions of normal Hox gene expression can lead to severe morphological defects revealing a link between the regulation of Hox expression and pattern formation. Here we explore these links focusing on the impact of microRNA regulation on the expression of the Drosophila Hox gene Ultrabithorax (Ubx) during haltere development. Through the combination of bioinformatic and transcriptomic analyses we identify the miR-310/313 cluster (miR-310C) as a candidate regulator of Ubx. Several experiments confirm this. First, miR-310C and Ubx protein show complementary expression patterns in haltere imaginal discs; second, artificial activation of miR-310C expression in haltere discs leads to Ubx-like phenotypes. Third, expression of a fluorescent reporter bearing Ubx 3'UTR sequences is reduced when co-expressed with miR-310C Fourth, deletion of miR-310C leads to Ubx upregulation and changes the array of mechanosensory sensilla at the base of the haltere. Fifth, artificial increase of Ubx levels within the miR-310C expression domain phenocopies the mechanosensory defects observed in miR-310C mutants. We propose that miR-310C-mediated repression delimits Ubx fine-grain expression contributing to the sculpting of complex morphologies in the Drosophila haltere. Our work reveals a novel role of microRNA regulation in the control of Hox gene expression with impact on morphology.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Drosophila, Hox, Haltere, microRNA, Morphology
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Chemistry
School of Life Sciences > Neuroscience
Research Centres and Groups: Sussex Neuroscience
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH0301 Biology > QH0426 Genetics
Depositing User: Claudio Alonso
Date Deposited: 17 Oct 2018 11:05
Last Modified: 17 Oct 2018 11:05
URI: http://srodev.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/79543

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Project NameSussex Project NumberFunderFunder Ref
The molecular regulation of Hox genes during animal developmentG0952WELLCOME TRUST098410/Z/12/Z