Grainy head target genes in epithelial morphogenesis and wound healing
Sammanfattning: grainy head (grh) genes encode a family of transcription factors conserved from fly to human. Drosophila grh is the founding member of this gene family and has multiple functions, including tracheal tube size control, epidermal barrier formation and reconstruction after wounding. To understand the underlying molecular mechanism of grh functions, we tried to isolate its direct targets and analyze their function. We identified ten grh targets by combining bioinformatics and genetics. Grh directly controls the expression of stitcher (stit), which encodes a Ret family receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK), during both development and wound healing. Stit promotes actin cable assembly and induces extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) phosphorylation around the wound edges upon injury. Stit also activates barrier repair genes and its own expression at the wound sites in a Grh-dependent manner. This positive feedback loop ensures efficient epidermal wound repair. In addition, Grh regulates the expression of multiple genes involved in chitin biosynthesis or modification. Most of the genes are required for tracheal tube size control. Two of them, verm and serp, encode related putative luminal chitin deacetylases. The functional analysis of verm and serp identifies an important role of luminal chitin matrix modification in limiting tracheal tube elongation. Therefore, it is very likely that Grh controls tracheal tube size through regulating multiple targets involved in the assembly or modification of luminal chitin matrix. Grh also directly activates the epidermal expression of Peptidoglycan recognition protein LC (PGRP-LC) gene that is required for the induction of antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) upon infection. Furthermore, ectopically expressing Grh is sufficient to induce AMP Cecropin A lacZ reporter (CecA-LacZ) in the embryonic epidermis. These results suggest a new function of Grh in the local immune responses in Drosophila barrier epithelia.
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