Cellular signaling networks have evolved to enable swift and accurate responses, even in the face of genetic or environmental perturbation. Thus, genetic screens may not identify all the genes that regulate different biological processes. Moreover, although classical screening approaches have succeeded in providing parts lists of the essential components of signaling networks, they typically do not provide much insight into the hierarchical and functional relations that exist among these components. We describe a high-throughput screen in which we used RNA interference to systematically inhibit two genes simultaneously in 17,724 combinations to identify regulators of Drosophila JUN NH(2)-terminal kinase (JNK). Using both genetic and phosphoproteomics data, we then implemented an integrative network algorithm to construct a JNK phosphorylation network, which provides structural and mechanistic insights into the systems architecture of JNK signaling.
The JAK/STAT pathway exerts pleiotropic effects on a wide range of developmental processes in Drosophila. Four key components have been identified: Unpaired, a secreted ligand; Domeless, a cytokine-like receptor; Hopscotch, a JAK kinase; and Stat92E, a STAT transcription factor. The identification of additional components and regulators of this pathway remains an important issue. To this end, we have generated a transgenic line where we misexpress the upd ligand in the developing Drosophila eye. GMR-upd transgenic animals have dramatically enlarged eye-imaginal discs and compound eyes that are normally patterned. We demonstrate that the enlarged-eye phenotype is a result of an increase in cell number, and not cell volume, and arises from additional mitoses in larval eye discs. Thus, the GMR-upd line represents a system in which the proliferation and differentiation of eye precursor cells are separable. Removal of one copy of stat92E substantially reduces the enlarged-eye phenotype. We performed an F1 deficiency screen to identify dominant modifiers of the GMR-upd phenotype. We have identified 9 regions that enhance this eye phenotype and two specific enhancers: C-terminal binding protein and Daughters against dpp. We also identified 20 regions that suppress GMR-upd and 13 specific suppressors: zeste-white 13, pineapple eye, Dichaete, histone 2A variant, headcase, plexus, kohtalo, crumbs, hedgehog, decapentaplegic, thickveins, saxophone, and Mothers against dpp.
The Jun kinase (JNK) pathway has been characterized for its role in stimulating AP-1 activity and for modulating the balance between cell growth and death during development, inflammation, and cancer. Six families of mammalian kinases acting at the level of JNKKK have emerged as upstream regulators of JNK activity (MLK, LZK, TAK, ASK, MEKK, and TPL); however, the specificity underlying which kinase is utilized for transducing a distinct signal is poorly understood. In Drosophila, JNK signaling plays a central role in dorsal closure, controlling cell fate and cell sheet morphogenesis during embryogenesis. Notably, in the fly genome, there are single homologs of each of the mammalian JNKKK families. Here, we identify mutations in one of those, a mixed lineage kinase, named slipper (slpr), and show that it is required for JNK activation during dorsal closure. Furthermore, our results show that other putative JNKKKs cannot compensate for the loss of slpr function and, thus, may regulate other JNK or MAPK-dependent processes.
The Drosophila melanogaster JUN N-terminal kinase (DJNK) and DPP (decapentaplegic) signal transduction pathways coordinately regulate epithelial cell sheet movement during the process of dorsal closure in the embryo. By a genetic screen of mutations affecting dorsal closure in Drosophila, we have now identified a multidomain protein, connector of kinase to AP-1 (cka), that functions in the DJNK pathway and controls the localized expression of dpp in the leading-edge cells. We have also investigated how CKA acts. This unique molecule forms a complex with HEP (DJNKK), BSK (DJNK), DJUN, and DFOS. Complex formation activates BSK kinase, which in turn phosphorylates and activates DJUN and DFOS. These data suggest that CKA represents a novel molecule regulating AP-1 activity by organizing a molecular complex of kinases and transcription factors, thus coordinating the spatial-temporal expression of AP-1-regulated genes.
During Drosophila oogenesis, the formation of the egg respiratory appendages and the micropyle require the shaping of anterior and dorsal follicle cells. Prior to their morphogenesis, cells of the presumptive appendages are determined by integrating dorsal-ventral and anterior-posterior positional information provided by the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and Decapentaplegic (Dpp) pathways, respectively. We show here that another signaling pathway, the Drosophila Jun-N-terminal kinase (JNK) cascade, is essential for the correct morphogenesis of the dorsal appendages and the micropyle during oogenesis. Mutant follicle cell clones of members of the JNK pathway, including DJNKK/hemipterous (hep), DJNK/basket (bsk), and Djun, block dorsal appendage formation and affect the micropyle shape and size, suggesting a late requirement for the JNK pathway in anterior chorion morphogenesis. In support of this view, hep does not affect early follicle cell patterning as indicated by the normal expression of kekkon (kek) and Broad-Complex (BR-C), two of the targets of the EGFR pathway in dorsal follicle cells. Furthermore, the expression of the TGF-beta homolog dpp, which is under the control of hep in embryos, is not coupled to JNK activity during oogenesis. We show that hep controls the expression of puckered (puc) in the follicular epithelium in a cell-autonomous manner. Since puc overexpression in the egg follicular epithelium mimics JNK appendages and micropyle phenotypes, it indicates a negative role of puc in their morphogenesis. The role of the JNK pathway in the morphogenesis of follicle cells and other epithelia during development is discussed.
We have characterized mutations in the Drosophila homolog of the mammalian proto-oncogene c-Jun gene (Djun). We demonstrate that DJUN in the embryo is a downstream target of the JNK signal transduction pathway during dorsal closure formation, and that the function of the JNK/DJUN pathway is to control the localized expression of decapentalegic (dpp), a member of the TGF-beta growth factor family. In contrast to previous observations, we find that both in the embryo and during photoreceptor cell determination, DJUN is not regulated by a pathway that involves MAPK.