Identifying targets of the rough homeobox gene of Drosophila: evidence that rhomboid functions in eye development.
Freeman M., Kimmel BE., Rubin GM.
In order to identify potential target genes of the rough homeodomain protein, which is known to specify some aspects of the R2/R5 photoreceptor subtype in the Drosophila eye, we have carried out a search for enhancer trap lines whose expression is rough-dependent. We crossed 101 enhancer traps that are expressed in the developing eye into a rough mutant background, and have identified seven lines that have altered expression patterns. One of these putative rough target genes is rhomboid, a gene known to be required for dorsoventral patterning and development of some of the nervous system in the embryo. We have examined the role of rhomboid in eye development and find that, while mutant clones have only a subtle phenotype, ectopic expression of the gene causes the non-neuronal mystery cells to be transformed into photoreceptors. We propose that rhomboid is a part of a partially redundant network of genes that specify photoreceptor cell fate.