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EMBO J. 1989 Sep;8(9):2687-93.

An essential role of even-skipped for homeotic gene expression in the Drosophila visceral mesoderm.

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Zoological Institute, University of Z├╝rich, Switzerland.


We have analysed homeotic gene expression in the embryonic visceral mesoderm of segmentation mutants by antibody staining against Ultrabithorax, Antennapedia and Sex combs reduced protein. We found that even-skipped (eve) function is crucially required for homeotic gene expression, whereas most other segmentation mutations have only minor effects on position and/or width of the homeotic expression domains in this germ layer. Analysis of pair-rule double mutants indicates that complete loss of homeotic gene activity in the visceral mesoderm, as observed in amorphic eve mutants, correlates with loss of engrailed (en) expression in the epidermis and loss of segmentation. We suggest that the establishment of parasegment borders, a consequence of eve expression and witnessed by subsequent en expression, is a necessary precondition for homeotic gene expression in the visceral mesoderm.

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