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Genetics. 1994 Aug;137(4):1027-38.

Molecular genetic analysis of the Drosophila melanogaster gene absent, small or homeotic discs1 (ash1).

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  • 1Department of Biology, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland 21218.


The absent, small or homeotic discs1 gene (ash1) is one of the trithorax set of genes. Recessive loss of function mutations in ash1 cause homeotic transformations of imaginal disc derived tissue which resemble phenotypes caused by partial loss or gain of function mutations in genes of the Antennapedia Complex and bithorax Complex. F2 screens were used to isolate P element insertion alleles and EMS-induced alleles of ash1, including one temperature-sensitive allele, and an F1 screen was used to isolate gamma-ray-induced alleles. Analysis of ash1 mutant flies that survive until the adult stage indicates that not only imaginal disc- and histoblast-derived tissues are affected but also that oogenesis requires ash1 function. Mutations in the gene brahma (brm) which also is one of the trithorax set of genes interact with mutations in ash1 such that non-lethal ash1 +/+ brm double heterozygotes have a high penetrance of homeotic transformations in specific imaginal disc- and histoblast-derived tissues. The cytogenetic location of ash1 was determined to be 76B6-11 by the breakpoint of a translocation recovered in the F1 screen. The gene Shal, which is located cytogenetically nearby ash1, was used to initiate an 84-kb genomic walk within which the ash1 gene was identified. The ash1 gene encodes a 7.5-kb transcript that is expressed throughout development but is present at higher levels during the embryonic and pupal stages than during the larval stages. During the larval stages the transcript accumulates primarily in imaginal discs. During oogenesis the transcript accumulates in the nurse cells of developing egg chambers.

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