We isolated and characterized embryonic lethal mutations in piragua (prg). The prg locus encodes a protein with an amino terminus Zinc Finger-Associated-Domain (ZAD) and nine C2H2 zinc fingers (ZF). prg mRNA and protein expression during embryogenesis is dynamic with widespread maternal contribution, and subsequent expression in epithelial precursors. About a quarter of prg mutant embryos do not develop cuticle, and from those that do a small fraction have cuticular defects. Roughly half of prg mutants die during embryogenesis. prg mutants have an extended phenocritical period encompassing embryogenesis and first instar larval stage, since the other half of prg mutants die as first or second instar larvae. During dorsal closure, time-lapse high-resolution imaging shows defects arising out of sluggishness in closure, resolving at times in failures of closure. prg is expressed in imaginal discs, and is required for imaginal development. prg was identified in imaginal tissue in a cell super competition screen, together with other genes, like flower. We find that flower mutations are also embryonic lethal with a similar phenocritical period and strong embryonic mutant phenotypes (head involution defects, primarily). The two loci interact genetically in the embryo, as they increase embryonic mortality to close to 90% with the same embryonic phenotypes (dorsal closure and head involution defects, plus lack of cuticle). Mutant prg clones generated in developing dorsal thorax and eye imaginal tissue have strong developmental defects (lack of bristles and ommatidial malformations). prg is required in several developmental morphogenetic processes.
Nazario-Yepiz, N. O., & Riesgo-Escovar, J. R. (2017). piragua encodes a zinc finger protein required for development in Drosophila. Mechanisms of Development, 144, 171–181. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mod.2016.12.003