Expression of dachshund in wild-type and Distal-less mutant Tribolium corroborates serial homologies in insect appendages
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We isolated the homologue of the Drosophila gene dachshund (dac) from the beetle Tribolium castaneum. Tc'dac is expressed in all appendages except urogomphi and pleuropodia. Tc'dac is also active in the head lobes, in the ventral nervous system, in the primordia of the Malpighian tubules and in bilateral stripes corresponding to the presumptive dorsal midline. Expression of Tc'dac in the labrum lends support to the interpretation that the insect labrum is derived from a metameric appendage. The legs of Tribolium accommodate two Tc'dac domains, of which the more distal one corresponds to the single dac domain described for Drosophila leg discs. In contrast to Drosophila, where this domain is thought to intercalate between the homothorax (hth) and the Distal-less (Dll) domains, in Tribolium it arises from within the Dll domain. In embryos mutant for the Tc'Dll gene we find that the distal Tc'dac domain in the legs, as well as the expression in the labrum, are deleted while the proximal leg domain and the mandibular expression are unaffected. Based on Tc'dac expression in wild-type and mutant embryos, we demonstrate serial homology of the complete mandible with the coxa of the thoracic legs, which affirms the gnathobasic nature of the insect mandible.
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