We report here the consequences of mutations of a novel locus, named bantam, whose product is involved in the regulation of growth in Drosophila. bantam mutant animals are smaller than wild type, due to a reduction in cell number but not cell size, and do not have significant disruptions in patterning. Conversely, overexpression of the bantam product using the EP element EP(3)3622 causes overgrowth of wing and eye tissue. Overexpression in clones of cells results in an increased rate of cell proliferation and a matched increase in cellular growth rate, such that the resulting tissue is composed of more cells of a size comparable to wild type. These effects are strikingly similar to those associated with alterations in the activity of the cyclinD-cdk4 complex. However, epistasis and genetic interaction analyses indicate that bantam and cyclinD-cdk4 operate independently. Thus, the bantam locus represents a novel regulator of tissue growth.
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