Research ArticleDevelopmental Biology

The Homeobox Transcription Factor Cut Coordinates Patterning and Growth During Drosophila Airway Remodeling

Science Signaling  19 Feb 2013:
Vol. 6, Issue 263, pp. ra12
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2003424

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Balanced Cut for Proper Development

For tissues and organs to properly develop, cell growth, differentiation, and proliferation must be carefully coordinated. Pitsouli and Perrimon investigated mechanisms by which airways develop in the fruitfly by analyzing the effects of the homeobox transcription factor Cut on the proliferation and differentiation of tracheal progenitor cells called spiracular branch tracheoblasts. Quantitative imaging revealed nonuniform Cut abundance, and experimental manipulation of the abundance of Cut through overexpression or knockdown showed that just the right amount of Cut was required: Too little or too much impaired development of the trachea, with differential effects on cell survival, proliferation, and differentiation. The Wingless pathway and the Notch pathway positively and negatively, respectively, controlled Cut abundance, and the fibroblast growth factor receptor pathway was a transcriptional target of Cut in this developing tissue.