Regulation of fiber-specific actin expression by the Drosophila SRF ortholog Blistered
Molecular and Cellular Biology
Serum response factor (SRF) has an established role in controlling actin homeostasis in mammalian cells, yet its role in non-vertebrate muscle development has remained enigmatic. Here, we demonstrate that the single Drosophila SRF ortholog, termed Blistered (Bs), is expressed in all adult muscles, but Bs is required for muscle organization only in the adult indirect flight muscles. Bs is a direct activator of the flight muscle actin gene Act88F, via a conserved promoter-proximal binding site. However, Bs only activates Act88F expression in the context of the flight muscle regulatory program provided by the Pbx and Meis orthologs Extradenticle and Homothorax, and appears to function in a similar manner to mammalian SRF in muscle maturation. These studies place Bs in a regulatory framework where it functions to sustain the flight muscle phenotype in Drosophila. Our studies uncover an evolutionarily ancient role for SRF in regulating muscle actin expression, and provide a model for how SRF might function to sustain muscle fate downstream of pioneer factors.
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