Cell-fate determination in the developing Drosophila eye: Role of the rough gene

Ulrike Heberlein, Marek Mlodzik, Gerald M. Rubin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


The homeobox-gene rough is required in photoreceptor cells R2 and R5 for normal ommatidial assembly in the developing Drosophila eye. We have used several cell-type-specific markers and double mutant combinations to analyze cell-fate determination in rough. We show that the cells that would normally become R2 and/or R5 express a marker, a lacZ insertion in the seven-up (svp) gene, which is indicative of the R1/3/4/6 cell fate. In addition, the analysis of mitotically induced svp,ro double mutant clones in the eye indicates that in rough all outer photoreceptors are under the genetic control of the svp gene. These results show that, in the absence of rough function, R2 and R5 fail to be correctly determined and appear to be transformed into cells of the R3/4/1/6 subtype. This transformation and the subsequent developmental defects do not preclude the recruitment of R7 cells. However, the presence of ommatidia containing more than one R7 and/or R8 cell in rough implies a complex network of cellular interactions underlying cell-fate determination in the Drosophila retina.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)703-712
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Drosophila
  • Eye development
  • Homeobox
  • Photoreceptor cell fate


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