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Genetics. 2000 Jun;155(2):733-52.

A gain-of-function screen for genes that affect the development of the Drosophila adult external sensory organ.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Physiology, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0725, USA.

Erratum in

  • Genetics 2001 Jan;157(1):457.


The Drosophila adult external sensory organ, comprising a neuron and its support cells, is derived from a single precursor cell via several asymmetric cell divisions. To identify molecules involved in sensory organ development, we conducted a tissue-specific gain-of-function screen. We screened 2293 independent P-element lines established by P. Rorth and identified 105 lines, carrying insertions at 78 distinct loci, that produced misexpression phenotypes with changes in number, fate, or morphology of cells of the adult external sensory organ. On the basis of the gain-of-function phenotypes of both internal and external support cells, we subdivided the candidate lines into three classes. The first class (52 lines, 40 loci) exhibits partial or complete loss of adult external sensory organs. The second class (38 lines, 28 loci) is associated with increased numbers of entire adult external sensory organs or subsets of sensory organ cells. The third class (15 lines, 10 loci) results in potential cell fate transformations. Genetic and molecular characterization of these candidate lines reveals that some loci identified in this screen correspond to genes known to function in the formation of the peripheral nervous system, such as big brain, extra macrochaetae, and numb. Also emerging from the screen are a large group of previously uncharacterized genes and several known genes that have not yet been implicated in the development of the peripheral nervous system.

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