Drosophila transcription factor AP-2 in proboscis, leg and brain central complex development

I. Monge, R. Krishnamurthy, D. Sims, F. Hirth, M. Spengler, L. Kammermeier, H. Reichert, P. J. Mitchell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


We report loss- and gain-of-function analyses that identify essential roles in development for Drosophila transcription factor AP-2. A mutagenesis screen yielded 16 lethal point mutant alleles of dAP-2. Null mutants die as adults or late pupae with a reduced proboscis, severely shortened legs (∼30% of normal length) lacking tarsal joints, and disruptions in the protocerebral central complex, a brain region critical for locomotion. Seven hypomorphic alleles constitute a phenotypic series yielding hemizygous adults with legs ranging from 40-95% of normal length. Hypomorphic alleles show additive effects with respect to leg length and viability; and several heteroallelic lines were established. Heteroallelic adults have moderately penetrant defects that include necrotic leg joints and ectopic growths (sometimes supernumerary antennae) invading medial eye territory. Several dAP-2 alleles with DNA binding domain missense mutations are null in hemizygotes but have dominant negative effects when paired with hypomorphic alleles. In wild-type leg primordia, dAP-2 is restricted to presumptive joints. Ectopic dAP-2 in leg discs can inhibit but not enhance leg elongation indicating that functions of dAP-2 in leg outgrowth are region restricted. In wing discs, ectopic dAP-2 cell autonomously transforms presumptive wing vein epithelium to ectopic sensory bristles, consistent with an instructive role in sensory organ development. These findings reveal multiple functions for dAP-2 during morphogenesis of feeding and locomotor appendages and their neural circuitry, and provide a new paradigm for understanding AP-2 family transcription factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1239-1252
Number of pages14
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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