Competence for cell fate determination and cellular differentiation is under tight control of regulatory genes. Yan, a nuclear target of receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK signaling, is an E twenty six (ETS) DNA-binding protein that functions as a negative regulator of cell differentiation and proliferation in Drosophila. Most members of RTK signaling pathways are highly conserved through evolution, yet no yan orthologues have been identified to date in vertebrates. To investigate the degree of yan conservation during evolution, we have characterized a yan homologue from a sibling species of D. melanogaster, D. virilis. Our results show that the organization, primary structure and expression pattern of yan are highly conserved. Both genes span over 20 kb and contain four exons with introns at identical positions. The areas with highest amino acid similarity include the Pointed and ETS domain but there are other discrete regions with a high degree of similarity. Phylogenetic analysis reveals that yan's closest relative is the human tel gene, a negative regulator of differentiation in hematopoetic precursors. In both species, Yan is dynamically expressed beginning as early as stage 4/5 and persisting throughout embryogenesis. In third instar larvae, Yan is expressed in and behind the morphogenetic furrow of the eye imaginal disc as well as in the laminar precursor cells of the brain. Ovarian follicle cells also contain Yan protein. Conservation of the structure and expression patterns of yan genes strongly suggests that regulatory mechanisms for their expression are also conserved in these two species.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental Biology