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EMBO J. 1996 Jun 17;15(12):3077-84.

Drosophila goosecoid participates in neural development but not in body axis formation.

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Max Plank Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, Göttingen, Germany.


In vertebrate embryos, the homeobox gene goosecoid (gsc) is expressed in the gastrula organizer region and in later arising embryonic tissues including the foregut anlage. Ectopic expression and loss-of-function studies have demonstrated that Xenopus gsc elicits a dorsalizing activity that contributes to body axis formation. Here we report that the gsc gene is conserved in invertebrates. In Drosophila, D-gsc is expressed most strongly in the foregut anlage, which gives rise to the foregut proper and the stomatogastric nervous system (SNS). D-gsc expression overlaps with one of the three SNS precursor groups invaginating from the foregut anlage. Embryos mutant for D-gsc gastrulate normally but show disrupted invagination in the SNS primordium and lack one specific SNS ganglion. In addition, D-gsc mutant embryos show a less well defined defect in foregut arrangement. Our results indicate that this invertebrate homolog of gsc is not required for gastrulation but plays a role in neurogenesis in post-gastrula Drosophila embryos.

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