The forkhead box containing transcription factor FoxB is a potential component of dorsal-ventral body axis formation in the spider Parasteatoda tepidariorum.


Department of Earth Sciences, Palaeobiology, Uppsala University, Villavägen 16, Uppsala, Sweden. [Email]


In the spider, determination of the dorsal-ventral body (DV) axis depends on the interplay of the dorsal morphogen encoding gene decapentaplegic (Dpp) and its antagonist, short gastrulation (sog), a gene that is involved in the correct establishment of ventral tissues. Recent work demonstrated that the forkhead domain encoding gene FoxB is involved in dorsal-ventral axis formation in spider limbs. Here, Dpp likely acts as a dorsal morphogen, and FoxB is likely in control of ventral tissues as RNAi-mediated knockdown of FoxB causes dorsalization of the limbs. In this study, we present phenotypes of FoxB knockdown that demonstrate a function in the establishment of the DV body axis. Knockdown of FoxB function leads to embryos with partially duplicated median germ bands (Duplicitas media) that are possibly the result of ectopic activation of Dpp signalling. Another class of phenotypes is characterized by unnaturally slim (dorsal-ventrally compressed) germ bands in which ventral tissue is either not formed, or is specified incorrectly, likely a result of Dpp over-activity. These results suggest that FoxB functions as an antagonist of Dpp signalling during body axis patterning, similarly as it is the case in limb development. FoxB thus represents a general player in the establishment of dorsal-ventral structures during spider ontogeny.


Arthropoda,Axis formation,Development,Dorsal,Dorsoventral patterning, germ band formation,Ventral,

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