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The Mediator CDK8-Cyclin C complex modulates vein patterning in Drosophila by stimulating Mad-dependent transcription

By Xiao Li, Mengmeng Liu, Xingjie Ren, Nicolas Loncle, Qun Wang, Rajitha-Udakara-Sampath Hemba-Waduge, Muriel Boube, Henri-Marc G Bourbon, Jian-Quan Ni, Jun-Yuan Ji

Posted 03 Jul 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/360628 (published DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1008832)

Dysregulations of CDK8 and its regulatory partner CycC, two subunits of the conserved Mediator complex, have been linked to diverse human diseases such as cancer, thus it is essential to understand the regulatory network mobilizing the CDK8-CycC complex in both normal development and tumorigenesis. To identify upstream regulators or downstream effectors of CDK8, we performed a dominant modifier genetic screen in Drosophila based on the defects in vein patterning caused by specific depletion or overexpression of CDK8 or CycC in wing imaginal discs. We identified 26 genomic loci whose haploinsufficiency can modify these CDK8-specific phenotypes. Further analysis of two deficiency lines and mutant alleles led us to identify interactions between CDK8-CycC and the components of the Decapentaplegic (Dpp, the Drosophila homolog of TGFβ) signaling pathway. We observed that CDK8-CycC positively regulates transcription activated by Mad (Mothers against dpp), the primary transcription factor downstream of the Dpp/TGFβ signaling pathway. CDK8 can directly interact with Mad in vitro through the linker region between the DNA-binding MH1 (Mad homology 1) domain and the carboxy terminal MH2 transactivation domain. Besides CDK8 and CycC, further analyses of other subunits of the Mediator complex have revealed six additional Mediator subunits that are required for Mad-dependent transcription in the wing discs, including Med12, Med13, Med15, Med23, Med24, and Med31. Furthermore, CDK9 and Yorkie also positively regulate Mad-dependent gene expression in vivo. These results suggest that the Mediator complex may coordinate with other transcription cofactors in regulating Mad-dependent transcription during the wing vein patterning in Drosophila.

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