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Dev Biol. 2011 May 15;353(2):396-410. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2011.02.005. Epub 2011 Feb 12.

Control of Distal-less expression in the Drosophila appendages by functional 3' enhancers.

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Instituto de Biomedicina de Valencia (IBV-CSIC), Jaime Roig, 11, 46010 Valencia, Spain.


The expression of the Hox gene Distal-less (Dll) directs the development of appendages in a wide variety of animals. In Drosophila, its expression is subjected to a complex developmental control. In the present work we have studied a 17kb genomic region in the Dll locus which lies downstream of the coding sequence and found control elements of primary functional importance for the expression of Dll in the leg and in other tissues. Of particular interest is a control element, which we have called LP, which drives expression of Dll in the leg primordium from early embryonic development, and whose deletion causes severe truncation and malformation of the adult leg. This is the first Dll enhancer for which, in addition to the ability to drive expression of a reporter, a role can be demonstrated in the expression of the endogenous Dll gene and in the development of the leg. In addition, our results suggest that some enhancers, contrary to the widely accepted notion, may require a specific 5' or 3' position with respect to the transcribed region.

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