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Development. 1990 Nov;110(3):905-14.

The pattern of transcription of the neurogenic gene Delta of Drosophila melanogaster.

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  • 1Institut für Entwicklungsphysiologie, Universität zu Köln, Federal Republic of Germany.


The function of the Delta locus of Drosophila melanogaster is required for the correct separation of neural and epidermal cell lineages. We describe here the transcriptional organization of this locus and the spatial pattern of mRNA accumulation during embryogenesis. Delta produces three mRNAs with protein-coding capacity, which differ only at their untranslated 3' ends and thus encode the same protein; other minor RNAs from the locus are shown not to have any protein-coding capacity and to correspond to introns. No indications were obtained for multiple translational products of the locus. In situ hybridization using digoxigenin-labelled probes confirms that Delta RNA is present at high concentration in all presumptive neurogenic territories of the embryo. Since all the constituent cells of these territories contain Delta RNA, a differential distribution of the protein among the derivatives of the neuroectodermal cells is improbable. Some time after segregation of lineages, Delta RNA reappears in neuroblasts. The possible significance of these observations with respect to the function of the Delta product during lineage segregation is discussed.

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