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Science 329 (5989): 336-339

Copyright © 2010 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Small Peptides Switch the Transcriptional Activity of Shavenbaby During Drosophila Embryogenesis

T. Kondo,1,2,*,{dagger} S. Plaza,3,4,* J. Zanet,3,4 E. Benrabah,3,4 P. Valenti,3,4 Y. Hashimoto,1,6,{dagger} S. Kobayashi,1,5 F. Payre,3,4,{ddagger} Y. Kageyama1,6,{ddagger}

Abstract: A substantial proportion of eukaryotic transcripts are considered to be noncoding RNAs because they contain only short open reading frames (sORFs). Recent findings suggest, however, that some sORFs encode small bioactive peptides. Here, we show that peptides of 11 to 32 amino acids encoded by the polished rice (pri) sORF gene control epidermal differentiation in Drosophila by modifying the transcription factor Shavenbaby (Svb). Pri peptides trigger the amino-terminal truncation of the Svb protein, which converts Svb from a repressor to an activator. Our results demonstrate that during Drosophila embryogenesis, Pri sORF peptides provide a strict temporal control to the transcriptional program of epidermal morphogenesis.

1 Okazaki Institute for Integrative Bioscience, National Institute for Basic Biology (NIBB), National Institutes of Natural Sciences, 5-1 Myodaiji-Higashiyama, Okazaki 444-8787, Japan.
2 Graduate School of Biological Sciences, Nara Institute of Science and Technology, 8916-5 Takayama, Ikoma, Nara 630-0192, Japan.
3 Université de Toulouse, Université Paul Sabatier, Centre de Biologie du Développement, Bâtiment 4R3, 118 route de Narbonne, F-31062 Toulouse, France.
4 CNRS, UMR 5547, Centre de Biologie du Développement (CBD), F-31062 Toulouse, France.
5 Department of Basic Biology, School of Life Science, Graduate University for Advanced Studies (SOKENDAI), 38 Myodaiji-Nishigonaka, Okazaki 444-8585, Japan.
6 Precursory Research for Embryonic Science and Technology (PRESTO), Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), 4-1-8 Honcho, Kawaguchi, Saitama 332-0012, Japan.

* These authors contributed equally to this work.

{dagger} Present address: RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology, 2-2-3 Minatojima-Minamimachi, Chuo-ku, Kobe 650-0047, Japan.

{ddagger} To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: payre{at}cict.fr (F.P.); kageyama{at}nibb.ac.jp (Y.K.)

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