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Mech Dev. 1994 Sep;47(3):225-39.

Expression of a novel Toll-like gene spans the parasegment boundary and contributes to hedgehog function in the adult eye of Drosophila.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD 21205.


Many proteins involved in signal transduction and cell adhesion are characterized by the presence of an extracellular domain with repeated copies of a leucine-rich motif (LRR). Here we report the isolation and characterization of a novel gene, tlr (for Toll-like receptor), which encodes a protein containing multiple LRRs in its presumed extracellular domain, a single transmembrane segment and homology to the cytoplasmic domain of the interleukin 1 receptor in its presumed intracellular domain. The pattern of tlr expression at the extended germ band stage is characterized by 15 transverse stripes in the gnathal and trunk segments, with four patches of expression corresponding to head segments and an additional patch of expression in the presumptive hindgut. The segmentally repeated tlr stripes in the trunk overlap both the wingless and engrailed stripes and thus span the parasegment boundary. The tlr stripes require pair rule gene function for their establishment and later become dependent upon segment-polarity gene function for their maintenance. Segmental modulation of tlr expression later in the tracheal system is dependent upon the function of the homeotic genes of the bithorax complex. The tlr gene also is prominently expressed in the imaginal discs. In the eye disc, this expression occurs in two stripes at the anterior and posterior margins of the morphogenetic furrow; this expression is consistent with a genetic interaction between a tlr mutation and an eye-specific allele of hedgehog. All of these data combine to suggest a role for tlr in interactions between cells at critical boundaries during development.

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