A key role for foxQ2 in anterior head and central brain patterning in insects
Citable Link (URL):http://resolver.sub.uni-goettingen.de/purl?gs-1/16995
Anterior patterning of animals is based on a set of highly conserved transcription factors but the interactions within the protostome anterior gene regulatory network (aGRN) remain enigmatic. Here, we identify the red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum ortholog of foxQ2 (Tc-foxQ2) as a novel upstream component of the aGRN. It is required for the development of the labrum and higher order brain structures, namely the central complex and the mushroom bodies. We reveal Tc-foxQ2 interactions by RNAi and heat shock-mediated misexpression. Surprisingly, Tc-foxQ2 and Tc-six3 mutually activate each other, forming a novel regulatory module at the top of the aGRN. Comparisons of our results with those of sea urchins and cnidarians suggest that foxQ2 has acquired more upstream functions in the aGRN during protostome evolution. Our findings expand the knowledge on foxQ2 gene function to include essential roles in epidermal development and central brain patterning.