The Mirror transcription factor links signalling pathways in Drosophila oogenesis

Debiao Zhao, Sarah Woolner, Mary Bownes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Many genetic cascades are conserved in evolution, yet they trigger different responses and hence determine different cell fates at specific times and positions in development. At stage 10 of oogenesis, mirror is expressed in anterior-dorsal follicle cells, and we show that this is dependent upon the Gurken signal from the oocyte. The fringe gene is expressed in a complementary pattern in posterior-ventral follicle cells at the same stage. Ectopic expression of mirror represses fringe expression, thus linking the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signalling pathway to the Fringe signalling pathway via Mirror. The EGFR pathway also triggers the cascade that leads to dorsal-ventral axis determination in the embryo. We used twist as an embryonic marker for ventral cells. Ectopic expression of mirror in the follicle cells during oogenesis ultimately represses twist expression in the embryo, and leads to similar phenotypes to the ectopic expression of the activated form of EGFR. Thus, mirror also controls the Toll signalling pathway, leading to Dorsal nuclear transport. In summary, we show that the Mirror homeodomain protein provides a link that coordinates the Gurken/EGFR signalling pathway (initiated in the oocyte) with the Fringe/Notch/Delta pathway (in follicle cells). This coordination is required for epithelial morphogenesis, and for producing the signal in ventral follicle cells that determines the dorsal/ventral axis of the embryo.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-57
Number of pages9
JournalDevelopment genes and evolution
Issue number8-9
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2000


  • Animals
  • Body Patterning
  • Drosophila/cytology
  • Drosophila/embryology
  • Drosophila/metabolism
  • Drosophila/physiology
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Eye Proteins/metabolism
  • Homeodomain Proteins/metabolism
  • Insect Proteins/metabolism
  • N-Acetylglucosaminyltransferases
  • Oogenesis
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription Factors
  • Transforming Growth Factor alpha
  • Transforming Growth Factors/metabolism


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