The Drosophila homeobox genes zfh-1 and even-skipped are required for cardiac-specific differentiation of a numb-dependent lineage dscision

Ming-Tsan Su, Miki Fujioka, Tadaatsu Goto, Rolf Bodmer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

73 Citations (Scopus)


A series of inductive signals are necessary to subdivide the mesoderm in order to allow the formation of the progenitor cells of the heart. Mesoderm-endogenous transcription factors, such as those encoded by twist and tinman, seem to cooperate with these signals to confer correct context and competence for a cardiac cell fate. Additional factors are likely to be required for the appropriate specification of individual cell types within the forming heart. Similar to tinman, the zinc finger- and homeobox-containing gene, zfh-1, is expressed in the early mesoderm and later in the forming heart, suggesting a possible role in heart development. Here, we show that zfh-1 is specifically required for formation of the even-skipped (eve)-expressing subset of pericardial cells (EPCs), without affecting the formation of their siblings, the founders of a dorsal body wall muscle (DA1). In addition to zfh-1, mesodermal eve itself appears to be needed for correct EPC differentiation, possibly as a direct target of zfh-1. Epistasis experiments show that zfh-1 specifies EPC development independently the lineage gene that controls DA1 founder versus fate. We discuss the combinatorial control that specify the EPC cell fate in a spatially precise pattern within the embryo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3241-3251
Number of pages11
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 1999 Jan 1



  • Cardiogenesis
  • Cell fate
  • Drosophila
  • EGF receptor
  • Even-skipped
  • Heart
  • Homeodomain
  • Lineage
  • Mesoderm
  • Myocardium
  • Myogenesis
  • Notch
  • Numb
  • Pericardial cell
  • Spitz
  • Zinc finger
  • zfh-1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology

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