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Dev Dyn. 1994 Jan;199(1):28-44.

Embryonic expression patterns of the Drosophila decapentaplegic gene: separate regulatory elements control blastoderm expression and lateral ectodermal expression.

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McArdle Laboratory for Cancer Research, University of Wisconsin-Madison 53706.


Patterns of decapentaplegic (dpp) transcripts derived from the intact gene were compared to the patterns of transcripts generated by partial dpp transgenes in Drosophila embryos. Sequences closest to the dpp coding regions, the dpp hin region, were sufficient to express lacZ-tagged mRNA in patterns indistinguishable from the patterns of endogenous dpp expression in the dorsal and terminal cells at the blastoderm stage, in the dorsal ectoderm during germ band elongation, and in narrow stripes of ectodermal cells along the dorsal edge of the ectoderm and at the boundary between the lateral and ventral neurogenic regions during germ band shortening. The latter pattern of expression responded to the segment polarity genes naked and wingless. However, these dpp sequences were not sufficient to drive lacZ-tagged mRNA expression in other cells normally expressing dpp, including cells in the gnathal segments, the clypeolabrum, the foregut, the midgut visceral mesoderm, and the hindgut. Two separate regulatory regions were found in the dpp hin region. A 479 bp region upstream of the promoter was necessary for the segmented pattern of expression in the lateral ectoderm and for expression in the midgut endoderm. Cis-acting elements in the 2 kbp second intron directed expression in the dorsal and terminal regions of the blastoderm, acted on a heterologous promoter, the P-element promoter, and responded to pattern information derived from the maternal effect dorsal/ventral patterning genes.

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