We have identified a putative Drosophila STAT protein named Marelle that exhibits mutant phenotypes identical to mutations in the Hopscotch/JAK kinase. We show that a reduction in the amount of marelle gene activity suppresses the phenotype associated with a gain-of-function mutation in hopscotch and enhances the phenotype associated with a weak hopscotch mutation. We propose that Hopscotch activates Marelle to regulate transcription of target genes such as the pair rule gene even-skipped. Our results demonstrate the existence of an invertebrate JAK/STAT system.
We describe the characterization of the Drosophila gene, hopscotch (hop), which is required maternally for the establishment of the normal array of embryonic segments. In hop embryos, although expression of the gap genes appears normal, there are defects in the expression patterns of the pair-rule genes even-skipped, runt, and fushi tarazu, as well as the segment-polarity genes engrailed and wingless. We demonstrate that the effect of hop on the expression of these genes is stripe-specific. The hop gene encodes a putative nonreceptor tyrosine kinase of the Janus kinase family, based on an internal duplication of the catalytic domain. We present a model in which the Hop tyrosine kinase is involved in the control of pair-rule gene transcription in a stripe-specific manner. Our results provide the first evidence for stripe-specific regulation of pair-rule genes by a tyrosine kinase.
The maternal and zygotic effect phenotypes of mutations at the l(1)hopscotch (l(1)hop) locus are described. l(1)hop is located in 10B6-8 on the salivary gland chromosome map and 17 alleles have been characterized. A complex complementation pattern is observed among the 17 alleles. The lethal phase of null alleles of l(1)hop occurs at the larval-pupal interface associated with a small disc phenotype. Embryos produced from homozygous l(1)hop germline clones show segment specific defects. The extent of these defects depends upon both the strength of the allele and the paternal contribution. In the most extreme case embryos exhibit defects associated with five segments T2, T3, A4, A5, and A8. In the less extreme phenotype defects are only associated with A5. Thus, activity of l(1)hop+ is required both for the maintenance and continued cell division of diploid imaginal precursors and for the establishment of the full array of segments.