Regional modulation of a stochastically expressed factor determines photoreceptor subtypes in the drosophila retina

Shivani U. Thanawala, Jens Rister, Gregory W. Goldberg, Andrey Zuskov, Eugenia C. Olesnicky, Jonathan Flowers, David Jukam, Michael Purugganan, Elizabeth R. Gavis, Claude Desplan, Robert J. Johnston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Stochastic mechanisms are sometimes utilized to diversify cell fates, especially in nervous systems. In the Drosophila retina, stochastic expression of the PAS-bHLH transcription factor Spineless (Ss) controls photoreceptor subtype choice. In one randomly distributed subset of R7 photoreceptors, Ss activates Rhodopsin4 (Rh4) and represses Rhodopsin3 (Rh3); counterparts lacking Ss express Rh3 and repress Rh4. In the dorsal third region of the retina, the Iroquois Complex transcription factors induce Rh3 in Rh4-expressing R7s. Here, we show that Ss levels are controlled in a binary on/off manner throughout the retina yet are attenuated in the dorsal third region to allow Rh3 coexpression with Rh4. Whereas the sensitivity of rh3 repression to differences in Ss levels generates stochastic and regionalized patterns, the robustness of rh4 activation ensures its stochastic expression throughout the retina. Our findings show how stochastic and regional inputs are integrated to control photoreceptor subtype specification in the Drosophila retina.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-105
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental Cell
Volume25
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 15 2013

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Drosophila
Retina
Modulation
Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
Neurology
Transcription Factors
Chemical activation
Specifications
Nervous System

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology

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Regional modulation of a stochastically expressed factor determines photoreceptor subtypes in the drosophila retina. / Thanawala, Shivani U.; Rister, Jens; Goldberg, Gregory W.; Zuskov, Andrey; Olesnicky, Eugenia C.; Flowers, Jonathan; Jukam, David; Purugganan, Michael; Gavis, Elizabeth R.; Desplan, Claude; Johnston, Robert J.

In: Developmental Cell, Vol. 25, No. 1, 15.04.2013, p. 93-105.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Thanawala, Shivani U. ; Rister, Jens ; Goldberg, Gregory W. ; Zuskov, Andrey ; Olesnicky, Eugenia C. ; Flowers, Jonathan ; Jukam, David ; Purugganan, Michael ; Gavis, Elizabeth R. ; Desplan, Claude ; Johnston, Robert J. / Regional modulation of a stochastically expressed factor determines photoreceptor subtypes in the drosophila retina. In: Developmental Cell. 2013 ; Vol. 25, No. 1. pp. 93-105.
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