The Drosophila T-box transcription factor Midline functions within the Notch-Delta signaling pathway to specify sensory organ precursor cell fates and regulates cell survival within the eye imaginal disc
Das, S.; Chen, Q.B.; Saucier, J.D.; Drescher, B.; Zong, Y.; Morgan, S.; Forstall, J.; Meriwether, A.; Toranzo, R.; Leal, S.M.
Mechanisms of Development 130(11-12): 577-601
ISSN/ISBN: 1872-6356 PMID: 23962751 DOI: 10.1016/j.mod.2013.08.001
We report that the T-box transcription factor Midline (Mid), an evolutionary conserved homolog of the vertebrate Tbx20 protein, functions within the Notch-Delta signaling pathway essential for specifying the fates of sensory organ precursor (SOP) cells. These findings complement an established history of research showing that Mid regulates the cell-fate specification of diverse cell types within the developing heart, epidermis and central nervous system. Tbx20 has been detected in unique neuronal and epithelial cells of embryonic eye tissues in both mice and humans. However, the mechanisms by which either Mid or Tbx20 function to regulate cell-fate specification or other critical aspects of eye development including cell survival have not yet been elucidated. We have also gathered preliminary evidence suggesting that Mid may play an indirect, but vital role in selecting SOP cells within the third-instar larval eye disc by regulating the expression of the proneural gene atonal. During subsequent pupal stages, Mid specifies SOP cell fates as a member of the Notch-Delta signaling hierarchy and is essential for maintaining cell viability by inhibiting apoptotic pathways. We present several new hypotheses that seek to understand the role of Mid in regulating developmental processes downstream of the Notch receptor that are critical for specifying unique cell fates, patterning the adult eye and maintaining cellular homeostasis during eye disc morphogenesis.