BothDrosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans) are useful model organisms to study in vivo roles of NF-Y during development. Drosophila NF-Y (dNF-Y) consists of three subunits dNF-YA, dNF-YB and dNF-YC. In some tissues, dNF-YC-related protein Mes4 may replace dNF-YC in dNF-Y complex. Studies with eye imaginal disc-specific dNF-Y-knockdown flies revealed that dNF-Y positively regulates the sevenless gene encoding a receptor tyrosine kinase, a component of the ERK pathway and negatively regulates the Sensless gene encoding a transcription factor to ensure proper development of R7 photoreceptor cells together with proper R7 axon targeting. dNF-Y also controls the Drosophila Bcl-2 (debcl) to regulate apoptosis. In thorax development, dNF-Y is necessary for both proper Drosophila JNK (basket) expression and JNK signaling activity that is responsible for thorax development. Drosophila p53
gene was also identified as one of the dNF-Y target genes in this system. C. elegans contains two forms of NF-YA subunit, CeNF-YA1 and CeNF-YA2. C. elegans NF-Y (CeNF-Y) therefore consists of CeNF-YB, CeNF-YC and either CeNF-YA1 or CeNF-YA2. CeNF-Y negatively regulates expression of the Hox gene egl-5
(ortholog of Drosophila Abdominal-B) that is involved in tail patterning. CeNF-Y also negatively regulates expression of the tbx-2
gene that is essential for development of the pharyngeal muscles, specification of neural cell fate and adaptation in olfactory neurons. Negative regulation of the expression of egl-5
by CeNF-Y provides new insight into the physiological meaning of negative regulation of gene expression by NF-Y during development. In addition, studies on NF-Y in platyhelminths are also summarized.