Date Published:2000 Oct
Raf is an essential downstream effector of activated p21(Ras) (Ras) in transducing proliferation or differentiation signals. Following binding to Ras, Raf is translocated to the plasma membrane, where it is activated by a yet unidentified "Raf activator." In an attempt to identify the Raf activator or additional molecules involved in the Raf signaling pathway, we conducted a genetic screen to identify genomic regions that are required for the biological function of Drosophila Raf (Draf). We tested a collection of chromosomal deficiencies representing approximately 70% of the autosomal euchromatic genomic regions for their abilities to enhance the lethality associated with a hypomorphic viable allele of Draf, Draf(Su2). Of the 148 autosomal deficiencies tested, 23 behaved as dominant enhancers of Draf(Su2), causing lethality in Draf(Su2) hemizygous males. Four of these deficiencies identified genes known to be involved in the Drosophila Ras/Raf (Ras1/Draf) pathway: Ras1, rolled (rl, encoding a MAPK), 14-3-3epsilon, and bowel (bowl). Two additional deficiencies removed the Drosophila Tec and Src homologs, Tec29A and Src64B. We demonstrate that Src64B interacts genetically with Draf and that an activated form of Src64B, when overexpressed in early embryos, causes ectopic expression of the Torso (Tor) receptor tyrosine kinase-target gene tailless. In addition, we show that a mutation in Tec29A partially suppresses a gain-of-function mutation in tor. These results suggest that Tec29A and Src64B are involved in Tor signaling, raising the possibility that they function to activate Draf. Finally, we discovered a genetic interaction between Draf(Su2) and Df(3L)vin5 that revealed a novel role of Draf in limb development. We find that loss of Draf activity causes limb defects, including pattern duplications, consistent with a role for Draf in regulation of engrailed (en) expression in imaginal discs.