In Drosophila melanogaster, there are cases in which gene products contributing to the same developmental event may derive from closely adjacent transcription units and may even share cis -regulatory sequences. Correct recognition of such genomic organization is central to an understanding of developmental mechanisms. The adult phenotypes of combinations between the mutations spade, Sternopleural, and wingless suggest that they are lesions in functionally related genes within the same chromosomal region. wingless mutations fail to complement the recessive mutation spade. The spade mutation, as previously shown, behaves as a lesion in a regulatory site of wingless, sited 5′ to the transcription unit, and is concerned with particular postembryonic functions of wingless. While showing wingless -like phenotypes in combination with Sternopleural, even lethal alleles of wingless complement the recessive lethality of Sternopleural alleles. Mutations in Sternopleural increase the severity of wingless phenotypes in many wingless -dependent processes during postembryonic development, and this interaction can occur when the only functional copies of Sp or wg are located in either opposing chromosomes or the same chromosome. This is inconsistent with previous attempts to define Sp as a regulatory allele of wg and explain the phenotypes that result from combinations of Sp and wg by means of transvection. We have analyzed a new EMS-induced allele of Sternopleural that is more severe than the original allele, which also argues for Sp being a separate, mutable genetic locus rather than a regulatory allele of wg. Finally, we have a revertant of Sternopleural ( Sp Rv1 ) that behaves as a genetic null allele of wg, but causes ventral-to-dorsal transformations in combination with wg P , which is not observed in combinations of wg null alleles with wg P . Because wg P is the result of an inversion and because inversions inhibit transvection, the increased severity observed in Sp Rv1 / wg P in comparison to wg null / Sp Rv1 animals cannot be explained by an absence of transvection. Therefore, the two Sternopleural mutations most reasonably define an independent gene located 3′ to the wingless gene and having strong functional synergism with it.
Developmental Biology – Elsevier
Published: May 15, 1997
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