Publications by authors named "Ansa Razzaq"

2 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

A combinatorial cis-regulatory logic restricts color-sensing Rhodopsins to specific photoreceptor subsets in Drosophila.

PLoS Genet 2021 Jun 23;17(6):e1009613. Epub 2021 Jun 23.

Department of Biology, Integrated Sciences Complex, University of Massachusetts Boston, Boston, Massachusetts, United States of America.

Color vision in Drosophila melanogaster is based on the expression of five different color-sensing Rhodopsin proteins in distinct subtypes of photoreceptor neurons. Promoter regions of less than 300 base pairs are sufficient to reproduce the unique, photoreceptor subtype-specific rhodopsin expression patterns. The underlying cis-regulatory logic remains poorly understood, but it has been proposed that the rhodopsin promoters have a bipartite structure: the distal promoter region directs the highly restricted expression in a specific photoreceptor subtype, while the proximal core promoter region provides general activation in all photoreceptors. Here, we investigate whether the rhodopsin promoters exhibit a strict specialization of their distal (subtype specificity) and proximal (general activation) promoter regions, or if both promoter regions contribute to generating the photoreceptor subtype-specific expression pattern. To distinguish between these two models, we analyze the expression patterns of a set of hybrid promoters that combine the distal promoter region of one rhodopsin with the proximal core promoter region of another rhodopsin. We find that the function of the proximal core promoter regions extends beyond providing general activation: these regions play a previously underappreciated role in generating the non-overlapping expression patterns of the different rhodopsins. Therefore, cis-regulatory motifs in both the distal and the proximal core promoter regions recruit transcription factors that generate the unique rhodopsin patterns in a combinatorial manner. We compare this combinatorial regulatory logic to the regulatory logic of olfactory receptor genes and discuss potential implications for the evolution of rhodopsins.
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June 2021

Single-base pair differences in a shared motif determine differential Rhodopsin expression.

Science 2015 Dec;350(6265):1258-61

Center for Developmental Genetics, Department of Biology, New York University, 100 Washington Square East, New York, NY 10003-6688, USA.

The final identity and functional properties of a neuron are specified by terminal differentiation genes, which are controlled by specific motifs in compact regulatory regions. To determine how these sequences integrate inputs from transcription factors that specify cell types, we compared the regulatory mechanism of Drosophila Rhodopsin genes that are expressed in subsets of photoreceptors to that of phototransduction genes that are expressed broadly, in all photoreceptors. Both sets of genes share an 11-base pair (bp) activator motif. Broadly expressed genes contain a palindromic version that mediates expression in all photoreceptors. In contrast, each Rhodopsin exhibits characteristic single-bp substitutions that break the symmetry of the palindrome and generate activator or repressor motifs critical for restricting expression to photoreceptor subsets. Sensory neuron subtypes can therefore evolve through single-bp changes in short regulatory motifs, allowing the discrimination of a wide spectrum of stimuli.
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December 2015