Organ-selector transcription factors control simultaneously cell differentiation and proliferation, ensuring the development of functional organs and their homeostasis. How this is achieved at the molecular level is still unclear. Here we have investigated how the transcriptional pulse of string/cdc25 (stg), the universal mitotic trigger, is regulated during Drosophila retina development as an example of coordinated deployment of differentiation and proliferation programs. We identify the eye specific stg enhancer, stg-FMW, and show that Pax6 selector genes, in cooperation with Eya and So, two members of the retinal determination network, activate stg-FMW, establishing a positive feed-forward loop. This loop is negatively modulated by the Meis1 protein, Hth. This regulatory logic is reminiscent of that controlling the expression of differentiation transcription factors. Our work shows that subjecting transcription factors and key cell cycle regulators to the same regulatory logic ensures the coupling between differentiation and proliferation programs during organ development.
Lopes, C. S., & Casares, F. (2015). Eye Selector Logic for a Coordinated Cell Cycle Exit. PLoS Genetics, 11(2), 1–22. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1004981