Dorsoventral (DV) patterning is essential for growth of the Drosophila eye. Recent studies suggest that ventral is the default state of the early eye, which depends on Lobe (L) function, and that the dorsal fate is established later by the expression of the dorsal selector gene pannier (pnr). However, the mechanisms of regulatory interactions between L and dorsal genes are not well understood. For studying the mechanisms of DV patterning in the early eye disc, we performed a dominant modifier screen to identify additional genes that interact with L. The criterion of the dominant interaction was either enhancement or suppression of the L ventral eye loss phenotype. We identified 48 modifiers that correspond to 16 genes, which include fringe (fng), a gene involved in ventral eye patterning, and members of both Hedgehog (Hh) and Decapentaplegic (Dpp) signaling pathways, which promote L function in the ventral eye. Interestingly, 29% of the modifiers (6 enhancers and 9 suppressors) identified either are known to interact genetically with pnr or are members of the Wingless (Wg) pathway, which acts downstream from pnr. The detailed analysis of genetic interactions revealed that pnr and L mutually antagonize each other during second instar of larval development to restrict their functional domains in the eye. This time window coincides with the emergence of pnr expression in the eye. Our results suggest that L function is regulated by multiple signaling pathways and that the mutual antagonism between L and dorsal genes is crucial for balanced eye growth.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/amit_singh/34/