Cabut (cbt) is a Drosophila melanogaster gene involved in epidermal dorsal closure (DC). Its expression is dependent on the Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) cascade, and it functions downstream of Jun regulating dpp expression in the leading edge cells. The Cbt protein contains three CH-type zinc fingers and a serine-rich domain, suggesting that it functions as a transcription factor. We have identified single cbt orthologs in other Drosophila species, as well as in other insects and invertebrate organisms like ascidians and echinoderms, but not in nematodes. Gene structure and protein sequence are highly conserved among Drosophilidae, but are more diverged in the other species of invertebrates analyzed. According to this, we demonstrate that cbt expression is detected in the embryonic lateral epidermis in several Drosophila species, as it occurs in D. melanogaster, thus suggesting that the cbt orthologs may have a conserved role in these species during DC. We have also analyzed the genomes of several vertebrate species, finding that the cbt orthologous genes in these organisms encode proteins that belong to the TIEG family of Sp1-like/Krüppel-like transcription factors. Phylogenetic analysis of the invertebrate and vertebrate proteins identified indicates that they mainly follow the expected phylogeny of the species, and that the cbt gene was duplicated during vertebrate evolution. Because we were not able to identify cbt orthologous genes neither in yeast nor in plants, our results suggest that this gene has been probably conserved throughout metazoans and that it may play a fundamental role in animal biology.
Muñoz-Descalzo, S., Belacortu, Y., & Paricio, N. (2007). Identification and analysis of cabut orthologs in invertebrates and vertebrates. Development Genes and Evolution, 217(4), 289-298. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00427-007-0144-5