The Drosophila protein Jim Lovell (Lov) is a putative transcription factor of the BTB/POZ (Bric- a-Brac/Tramtrack/Broad/ Pox virus and Zinc finger) domain class that is expressed in many elements of the developing larval nervous system. It has roles in innate behaviors such as larval locomotion and adult courtship. In performing tissue-specific knockdown with the Gal4-UAS system we identified a new behavioral phenotype for lov: larvae failed to burrow into their food during their growth phase and then failed to tunnel into an agarose substratum during their wandering phase. We determined that these phenotypes originate in a previously unrecognized role for lov in the tracheae. By using tracheal-specific Gal4 lines, Lov immunolocalization and a lov enhancer trap line, we established that lov is normally expressed in the tracheae from late in embryogenesis through larval life. Using an assay that monitors food burrowing, substrate tunneling and death we showed that lov tracheal knockdown results in tracheal fluid-filling, producing hypoxia that activates the aberrant behaviors and inhibits development. We investigated the role of lov in the tracheae that initiates this sequence of events. We discovered that when lov levels are reduced, the tracheal cells are smaller, more numerous and show lower levels of endopolyploidization. Together our findings indicate that Lov is necessary for tracheal endoreplicative growth and that its loss in this tissue causes loss of tracheal integrity resulting in chronic hypoxia and abnormal burrowing and tunneling behavior.
Zhou, F., Qiang, K. M., & Beckingham, K. M. (2016). Failure to burrow and tunnel reveals roles for jim lovell in the growth and endoreplication of the drosophila larval tracheae. PLoS ONE, 11(8). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0160233