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Development. 1992 Jan;114(1):49-57.

Organogenesis in Drosophila melanogaster: embryonic salivary gland determination is controlled by homeotic and dorsoventral patterning genes.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley 94720.


We have investigated Drosophila salivary gland determination by examining the effects of mutations in pattern forming genes on the salivary gland primordium. We find that the anterior-posterior extent of the primordium, a placode of columnar epithelial cells derived from parasegment 2, is established by the positive action of the homeotic gene Sex combs reduced (Scr). Embryos mutant for Scr lack a detectable placode, while ectopic Scr expression leads to the formation of ectopic salivary glands. In contrast, the dorsal-ventral extent of the placode is regulated negatively. Functions dependent on the decapentaplegic product place a dorsal limit on the placode, while dorsal-dependent genes act to limit the placode ventrally. We propose a model in which these pattern forming genes act early to determine the salivary gland anlage by regulating the expression of salivary gland determining genes, which in turn control genes that are involved in salivary gland morphogenesis.

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