|1986_Dev Bio_Degelmann.pdf||12.29 MB|
Date Published:1986 Jun
The segmental plan of the Drosophila embryo is already established at the blastoderm stage through the action of maternal effect genes which determine the polarity of the embryo and zygotically active genes involved in segmentation. We have analyzed the first example of a group of maternally acting genes which are necessary for establishing the developmental potential of the posterior 25% of the blastoderm. Females, homozygous for the X-linked maternal-effect mutation female sterile(1)Nasrat211 [fs(1)N211], produce embryos, characterized as torso-like, which lack all posterior endodermal derivatives as well as structures characteristic of abdominal segments 8 to 10. In addition, anterior endodermal derivatives are deficient and the absence of pharyngeal musculature causes a collapse of the cephalopharyngeal apparatus. The columnar blastoderm cell layer is defective at the posterior tip below the pole cells in these embryos. This defect, however, is presumably secondary to some abnormal feature of pole cell formation since in double mutants of fs(1)Nasrat211; tudor3 the blastoderm is normal but the embryos still show the torso-like phenotype. In situ hybridization with RNA probes derived from the fushi tarazu gene establishes that the cellular determination of the posterior blastoderm of embryos produced by fs(1)N211 is changed. This represents the first direct demonstration that a maternal-effect mutation alters the spatial distribution of a zygotic gene product involved in the segmental patterning of the embryo.