Collaborative repressive action of the antagonistic ETS transcription factors Pointed and Yan fine-tunes gene expression to confer robustness in Drosophila

Jemma L. Webber, Jie Zhang, Alex Massey, Nicelio Sanchez-Luege, Ilaria Rebay*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

The acquisition of cellular identity during development depends on precise spatiotemporal regulation of gene expression, with combinatorial interactions between transcription factors, accessory proteins and the basal transcription machinery together translating complex signaling inputs into appropriate gene expression outputs. The opposing repressive and activating inputs of the Drosophila ETS family transcription factors Yan and Pointed orchestrate numerous cell fate transitions downstream of receptor tyrosine kinase signaling, providing one of the premier systems for studying this process. Current models describe the differentiative transition as a switch from Yan-mediated repression to Pointed-mediated activation of common target genes. We describe here a new layer of regulation whereby Yan and Pointed co-occupy regulatory elements to repress gene expression in a coordinated manner, with Pointed being unexpectedly required for the genome-wide occupancy of both Yan and the co-repressor Groucho. Using even skipped as a test-case, synergistic genetic interactions between Pointed, Groucho, Yan and components of the RNA polymerase II pausing machinery suggest that Pointed integrates multiple scales of repressive regulation to confer robustness. We speculate that this mechanism may be used broadly to fine-tune the expression of many genes crucial for development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberdev165985
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Volume145
Issue number13
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2018

Keywords

  • Cell fate specification
  • Chromatin occupancy
  • Gene regulatory network
  • Mesoderm development
  • RNA pol II pausing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology

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