Mutually repressive interactions between the gap genes giant and Kruppel define middel body regions of the Drosophila embryo

R. Kraut, M. Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations

Abstract

The gap genes play a key role in establishing pair-rule and homeotic stripes of gene expression in the Drosophila embryo. There is mounting evidence that overlapping gradients of gap gene expression are crucial for this process. Here we present evidence that the segmentation gene giant is a bona fide gap gene that is likely to act in concert with hunchback, Kruppel and knirps to initiate stripes of gene expression. We show that Kruppel and giant are expressed in complementary, non-overlapping sets of cells in the early embryo. These complementary patterns depend on mutually repressive interactions between the two genes. Ectopic expression of giant in early embryos results in the selective repression of Kruppel, and advanced-stage embryos show cuticular defects similar to those ohserved in Kruppel- mutants. This result and others suggest that the strongest regulatory interactions occur among those gap genes expressed in nonadjacent domains. We propose that the precisely balanced overlapping gradients of gap gene expression depend on these strong regulatory interactions, coupled with weak interactions between neighboring genes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)611-621
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopment
Volume111
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 14 1991
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology

Keywords

  • Drosophila
  • cross-regulation
  • gap genes
  • giant
  • gradients
  • segmentation

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