Drosophila sensory organs are specified by a family of proneural genes which induce the expression of several common targets. One such target is senseless, which encodes a zinc finger transcription factor. We analyzed the function of senseless during pupal retinal development and found that senseless is required for recruitment of both cone and pigment cells, the pupal-derived ommatidial support cells. We also found that Senseless is expressed in neural precursors shortly after the larval-pupal transition and is both necessary and sufficient for interommatidial bristle development. Furthermore, senseless is the primary target of achaete and scute during interommatidial bristle development. We also identified several differences between the development of interommatidial bristles and other macrochaete. In particular, EGFR signaling is not required for interommatidial bristle development, nor is positive feedback regulation of proneural genes by senseless. A model for interommatidial bristle specification is presented.
Copyright 2004 Wiley-Liss, Inc.