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New regulators of Drosophila eye development identified from temporal transcriptome changes.

  • Quiquand, Manon1
  • Rimesso, Gerard1
  • Qiao, Nan2
  • Suo, Shengbao2
  • Zhao, Chunyu2
  • Slattery, Matthew3
  • White, Kevin P3
  • Han, Jackie J2
  • Baker, Nicholas E1, 4, 5
  • 1 Department of Genetics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461, USA.
  • 2 CAS Key Laboratory of Computational Biology, CAS-MPG Partner Institute for Computational Biology, Shanghai Institute of Nutrition and Health, Chinese Academy of Sciences Center for Excellence in Molecular Cell Science, Collaborative Innovation Center for Genetics and Developmental Biology, Shanghai Institutes for Biological Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200031, China. , (China)
  • 3 Institute for Genomics & Systems Biology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.
  • 4 Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461, USA.
  • 5 Department of Developmental and Molecular Biology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY 10461, USA.
Published Article
The Genetics Society of America
Publication Date
Jan 23, 2021
DOI: 10.1093/genetics/iyab007
PMID: 33681970


In the last larval instar, uncommitted progenitor cells in the Drosophila eye primordium start to adopt individual retinal cell fates, arrest their growth and proliferation, and initiate terminal differentiation into photoreceptor neurons and other retinal cell types. To explore the regulation of these processes, we have performed mRNA-Seq studies of the larval eye and antennal primordial at multiple developmental stages. A total of 10,893 fly genes were expressed during these stages and could be adaptively clustered into gene groups, some of whose expression increases or decreases in parallel with the cessation of proliferation and onset of differentiation. Using in situ hybridization of a sample of 98 genes to verify spatial and temporal expression patterns, we estimate that 534 genes or more are transcriptionally upregulated during retinal differentiation, and 1367 or more downregulated as progenitor cells differentiate. Each group of co-expressed genes is enriched for regulatory motifs recognized by co-expressed transcription factors, suggesting that they represent coherent transcriptional regulatory programs. Using available mutant strains, we describe novel roles for the transcription factors SoxNeuro (SoxN), H6-like homeobox (Hmx), CG10253, without children (woc), Structure specific recognition protein (Ssrp), and multisex combs (mxc). © The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Genetics Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email: [email protected]

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