Effects of ectopic expression of caudal during Drosophila development

M. Mlodzik, G. Gibson, W. J. Gehring

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63 Scopus citations


The effects of heat-shock-induced ectopic expression of the homeobox gene caudal (cad) at all stages of Drosophila development have been examined. Presence of cad protein (CAD) at the anterior end of cellular blastoderm embryos was found to disrupt head development and segmentation, due to alteration of the expression of segmentation genes such as fushi tarazu and engrailed, as well as repression of head-determining genes such as Deformed. These results support the conclusion that, while CAD is probably required to activate transcription of fushi tarazu in the posterior half of the embryo, it should not be expressed in the anterior half prior to gastrulation, and thus suggest a role for the CAD gradient. Ectopic expression of CAD at later stages of development has no obvious effects on embryogenesis or imaginal disc development, suggesting that the homeotic genes of the Antennapedia and Bithorax Complexes are almost completely epistatic to caudal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-277
Number of pages7
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Drosophila development
  • caudal
  • ectopic expression
  • fushi tarazu
  • segmentation


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