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Forces shaping a Hox morphogenetic gene network.

ABSTRACT: The Abdominal-B selector protein induces organogenesis of the posterior spiracles by coordinating an organ-specific gene network. The complexity of this network begs the questions of how it originated and what selective pressures drove its formation. Given that the network likely formed in a piecemeal fashion, with elements recruited sequentially, we studied the consequences of expressing individual effectors of this network in naive epithelial cells. We found that, with exception of the Crossveinless-c (Cv-c) Rho GTPase-activating protein, most effectors exert little morphogenetic effect by themselves. In contrast, Cv-c expression causes cell motility and down-regulates epithelial polarity and cell adhesion proteins. These effects differ in cells endogenously expressing Cv-c, which have acquired compensatory mechanisms. In spiracle cells, the down-regulation of polarity and E-cadherin expression caused by Cv-c-induced Rho1 inactivation are compensated for by the simultaneous spiracle up-regulation of guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF) proteins, cell polarity, and adhesion molecules. Other epithelial cells that have coopted Cv-c to their morphogenetic gene networks are also resistant to Cv-c's deleterious effects. We propose that cooption of a novel morphogenetic regulator to a selector cascade causes cellular instability, resulting in strong selective pressure that leads that same cascade to recruit molecules that compensate it. This experimental-based hypothesis proposes how the frequently observed complex organogenetic gene networks are put together.

SUBMITTER: Sotillos S 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC3600447 | BioStudies | 2013-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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