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Mech Dev. 1993 Jan;40(1-2):37-46.

The Polycomb gene is differentially regulated during oogenesis and embryogenesis of Drosophila melanogaster.

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ZMBH Universit├Ąt Heidelberg, Germany.


Homeotic genes are responsible for determining the identity of body structures along the anterior-posterior axis. In Drosophila the early patterning system defines the differential expression pattern of the homeotic genes. In laterstages the Polycomb-group (Pc-G) genes were found to keep homeotic genes stably repressed in those domains where they have to be inactive. At the molecular level the Pc-G is supposed to exert its repressory role by influencing the higher order structure of chromatin. Here we show that during oogenesis the Polycomb (Pc) protein is localized in the polytene nuclei of the nurse cells. In addition, in late stages we observe overlapping gradients of expression in the somatic follicle cells, suggesting also an important function of Pc on the determinants involved in egg formation. During embryogenesis Pc is found in all tissues, though in later stages it preferentially accumulates in the CNS. Interestingly, we have identified a feedback-type regulation: the Ultrabithorax gene, a homeotic target gene of Pc, in its own domain of expression is down-regulating Pc.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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