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Genet Res. 1991 Jun;57(3):257-66.

Tissue specific effects of ommochrome pathway mutations in Drosophila melanogaster.

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Department of Genetics and Human Variation, La Trobe University, Bundoora, Victoria, Australia.


The tissue-specific effects of 17 mutations affecting the synthesis of brown eye pigment (xanthommatin) have been investigated by combining them with chocolate and red cells, two mutations causing ectopic pigmentation of the Malpighian tubules and larval fat body (which normally only synthesize pigment precursors). The majority of mutations block the pigmentation of four organs; the normally pigmented eyes and ocelli, and ectopically pigmented tubules and fat body. They represent genes that would appear to be required for the normal operation of the pathway per se and are likely to encode structural proteins. Mutations at 5 loci affect pigmentation of a subset of organs: cd and po affect only the eyes and ocelli; kar affects the eyes, ocelli and fat body; car causes excretion of pigment from tubules; and z affects pigmentation of the eyes alone. Of these loci, only z has been shown to encode a regulatory protein and the role of the remaining four gene products is not clear. Two mutations affecting the red eye pigments (drosopterins), bw and mal, do not substantially perturb brown pigment synthesis in any of the four organs.

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