Editors' ChoiceDevelopment

Two Ways to Segment an Insect

STKE  03 Apr 2007:
Vol. 2007, Issue 380, pp. tw118
DOI: 10.1126/stke.3802007tw118

In the Drosophila embryo, the bicoid morphogen serves as a maternal anterior determinant during anterior-posterior axis development; however, this transcription factor is not found among all insects. Brent et al. compared the molecular mechanisms of development in the fruit fly Drosophila and the wasp Nasonia. Drosophila bicoid serves both an instructive function during anterior patterning and a permissive function for the repression of trunk genes in the anterior region. However, in the wasp, these two functions remain discrete: Nasonia orthodenticle (otd) performs bicoid function for anterior development, whereas maternal giant represses trunk fate. Thus, in the wasp, otd and giant jointly accomplish bicoid's role in Drosophila.

A. E. Brent, G. Yucel, S. Small, C. Desplan, Permissive and instructive anterior patterning rely on mRNA localization in the wasp embryo. Science 315, 1841-1843 (2007). [Abstract] [Full Text]