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EMBO J. 1993 Sep;12(9):3449-58.

Domain mapping of tube, a protein essential for dorsoventral patterning of the Drosophila embryo.

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Biochemistry Department, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas 75235-9038.


The tube protein plays an essential role in the signal transduction pathway that establishes dorsoventral polarity in the Drosophila melanogaster embryo. Characterization of each of four tube mutants revealed a substitution or insertion in the amino-terminal half of the protein. This portion of the tube protein is also evolutionarily conserved, as demonstrated by isolation and sequencing of the Drosophila virilis tube gene. Moreover, RNA microinjection assays and germline transformation experiments demonstrated that the amino-terminal domain alone provides substantial levels of gene function: constructs encoding only the amino-terminal domain restore dorsoventral polarity to embryos lacking any maternal tube function. In the carboxyterminal domain, sequence conservation is concentrated in the five octapeptide repeats. Although the repeat-containing domain by itself provides no rescue of the tube maternal effect phenotype, it is necessary for wild-type levels of tube activity. This domain is thus likely to play an ancillary role in axis formation.

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