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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Oct 23;98(22):12602-7.

P[Switch], a system for spatial and temporal control of gene expression in Drosophila melanogaster.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


We have developed a method for turning on and off the expression of transgenes within Drosophila in both time and space. Two different enhancer detector elements carrying an RU486-inducible form of the yeast transcription factor GAL4 were constructed and used to generate enhancer detector lines. These lines were screened for RU486-inducible reporter gene expression in the adult head. We identified lines that exhibit inducible expression in many cell and tissue types, verifying that the elements respond to nearby enhancers. No expression was detected in the absence of the ligand. The P[Switch1] element responded to genomic enhancers less efficiently than P[Switch2] but produced more specific patterns of expression. Two P[Switch] lines were used to ablate fat body tissue in adult females through the induced expression of diphtheria toxin. These females were sterile, which correlates with fat body loss, and they died prematurely.

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