Editors' ChoiceDevelopment

RNA-Binding Inhibitor of Notch

Science's STKE  12 Nov 2002:
Vol. 2002, Issue 158, pp. tw418
DOI: 10.1126/stke.2002.158.tw418

Danseraeau et al. characterize the Drosophila hephaestus gene, which they found in a screen for genes with roles in wing development. The heph gene encodes a protein with four RNA recognition motifs that are similar to those in mammalian polypryimidine tract-binding proteins and are thought to be characteristic of RNA-binding proteins. In genetic mosaic flies, cells with heph mutations showed effects on the formation of boundaries between differentiating wing tissues similar to those caused by ectopic activation of the Notch signaling pathway. Notch is a critical component of signaling circuits that regulate boundary formation in the wing. The Notch gene is initially expressed in broad regions of the developing wing, but later, expression is restricted in sharp boundaries where cells expressing Notch ligands are prevented from expressing Notch. The phenotypic effects of heph mutations appear to be caused by enhanced or inappropriately maintained activity of Notch. Thus, the authors' favored interpretation is that Heph functions in attenuating Notch activity, probably by affecting the stability of RNA encoding some component in the Notch signaling pathway.

D. A. Dansereau, M. D. Lunke, A. Finkielsztein, M. A. Russell, W. J. Brook, hephaestus encodes a polypyrimidine tract binding protein that regulates Notch signalling during wing development in Drosophila melanogaster. Development 129, 5553-5566 (2002). [Abstract] [Full Text]