The neuron-enriched splicing pattern of Drosophila erect wing is dependent on the presence of ELAV protein

Mol Cell Biol. 2000 Mar;20(5):1836-45. doi: 10.1128/mcb.20.5.1836-1845.2000.


Although the Drosophila melanogaster erect wing (ewg) gene is broadly transcribed in adults, an unusual posttranscriptional regulation involving alternative and inefficient splicing generates a 116-kDa EWG protein in neurons, while protein expression elsewhere or of other isoforms is below detection at this stage. This posttranscriptional control is important, as broad expression of EWG can be lethal. In this paper, we show that ELAV, a neuron-specific RNA binding protein, is necessary to regulate EWG protein expression in ELAV-null eye imaginal disc clones and that ELAV is sufficient for EWG expression in wing disc imaginal tissue after ectopic expression. Further, analysis of EWG expression elicited from intron-containing genomic transgenes and cDNA minitransgenes in ELAV-deficient eye discs shows that this regulation is dependent on the presence of ewg introns. Analyses of the ewg splicing patterns in wild-type and ELAV-deficient eye imaginal discs and in wild-type and ectopic ELAV-expressing wing imaginal discs, show that certain neuronal splice isoforms correspond to ELAV levels. The data presented in this paper are consistent with a mechanism in which ELAV increases the splicing efficiency of ewg transcripts in alternatively spliced regions rather than with a mechanism in which stability of specific splice forms is enhanced by ELAV. Additionally, we report that ELAV promotes a neuron-enriched splice isoform of Drosophila armadillo transcript. ELAV, however, is not involved in all neuron-enriched splice events.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • ELAV Proteins
  • Insect Hormones / biosynthesis
  • Insect Hormones / genetics
  • Neurons / metabolism*
  • Neuropeptides / biosynthesis
  • Neuropeptides / genetics*
  • Nuclear Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics*
  • Protein Isoforms / biosynthesis
  • Protein Isoforms / genetics
  • RNA Splicing*
  • Ribonucleoproteins / genetics*
  • Ribonucleoproteins / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors*


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • ELAV Proteins
  • EWG protein, Drosophila
  • Insect Hormones
  • Neuropeptides
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Protein Isoforms
  • Ribonucleoproteins
  • Transcription Factors