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Cell. 1988 Nov 4;55(3):487-95.

The dorsal protein is distributed in a gradient in early Drosophila embryos.

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Department of Biology, Princeton University, New Jersey 08544.


dorsal is one of the maternally active dorsal-ventral polarity genes of Drosophila and is closely related to the vertebrate proto-oncogene c-rel. Genetic experiments suggest that dorsal represents one of the last (if not the last) steps in the maternal pathway involved in establishing dorsal-ventral polarity in the early embryo. Even though the dorsal RNA is uniformly distributed in the embryo, we have found that the dorsal protein is specifically localized in peripheral nuclei of syncytial and cellular blastoderm stage embryos, and it is distributed in a ventral-to-dorsal gradient. These findings suggest possible mechanisms for how the dorsal protein may communicate maternal positional information to the zygotic genome.

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