POU domain motif3 (Pdm3) induces wingless (wg) transcription and is essential for development of larval neuromuscular junctions in Drosophila

Sci Rep. 2020 Jan 16;10(1):517. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-57425-9.


Wnt is a conserved family of secreted proteins that play diverse roles in tissue growth and differentiation. Identification of transcription factors that regulate wnt expression is pivotal for understanding tissue-specific signaling pathways regulated by Wnt. We identified pdm3m7, a new allele of the pdm3 gene encoding a POU family transcription factor, in a lethality-based genetic screen for modifiers of Wingless (Wg) signaling in Drosophila. Interestingly, pdm3m7 larvae showed slow locomotion, implying neuromuscular defects. Analysis of larval neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) revealed decreased bouton number with enlarged bouton in pdm3 mutants. pdm3 NMJs also had fewer branches at axon terminals than wild-type NMJs. Consistent with pdm3m7 being a candidate wg modifier, NMJ phenotypes in pdm3 mutants were similar to those of wg mutants, implying a functional link between these two genes. Indeed, lethality caused by Pdm3 overexpression in motor neurons was completely rescued by knockdown of wg, indicating that Pdm3 acts upstream to Wg. Furthermore, transient expression of Pdm3 induced ectopic expression of wg-LacZ reporter and Wg effector proteins in wing discs. We propose that Pdm3 expressed in presynaptic NMJ neurons regulates wg transcription for growth and development of both presynaptic neurons and postsynaptic muscles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics*
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / growth & development*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Male
  • Motor Neurons / metabolism
  • Mutation
  • Neuromuscular Junction / metabolism*
  • Organ Specificity
  • POU Domain Factors / genetics
  • POU Domain Factors / metabolism*
  • Phenotype
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Wnt1 Protein / genetics*


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • POU Domain Factors
  • Pdm3 protein, Drosophila
  • Wnt1 Protein
  • wg protein, Drosophila