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Johnson, T.K., Crossman, T., Foote, K.A., Henstridge, M.A., Saligari, M.J., Forbes Beadle, L., Herr, A., Whisstock, J.C., Warr, C.G. (2013). Torso-like functions independently of Torso to regulate Drosophila growth and developmental timing.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 110(36): 14688--14692.
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Activation of the Drosophila receptor tyrosine kinase Torso (Tor) only at the termini of the embryo is achieved by the localized expression of the maternal gene Torso-like (Tsl). Tor has a second function in the prothoracic gland as the receptor for prothoracicotropic hormone (PTTH) that initiates metamorphosis. Consistent with the function of Tor in this tissue, Tsl also localizes to the prothoracic gland and influences developmental timing. Despite these commonalities, in our studies of Tsl we unexpectedly found that tsl and tor have opposing effects on body size; tsl null mutants are smaller than normal, rather than larger as would be expected if the PTTH/Tor pathway was disrupted. We further found that whereas both genes regulate developmental timing, tsl does so independently of tor. Although tsl null mutants exhibit a similar length delay in time to pupariation to tor mutants, in tsl:tor double mutants this delay is strikingly enhanced. Thus, loss of tsl is additive rather than epistatic to loss of tor. We also find that phenotypes generated by ectopic PTTH expression are independent of tsl. Finally, we show that a modified form of tsl that can rescue developmental timing cannot rescue terminal patterning, indicating that Tsl can function via distinct mechanisms in different contexts. We conclude that Tsl is not just a specialized cue for Torso signaling but also acts independently of PTTH/Tor in the control of body size and the timing of developmental progression. These data highlight surprisingly diverse developmental functions for this sole Drosophila member of the perforin-like superfamily.

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PMC3767542 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
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    Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
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