Function of the spalt/spalt-related gene complex in positioning the veins in the Drosophila wing

Mech Dev. 2000 Mar 1;91(1-2):31-41. doi: 10.1016/s0925-4773(99)00261-0.


Spalt and Spalt-related encode conserved Zn-finger proteins that mediate the function of the TGF-beta molecule Decapentaplegic during the positioning of veins in the Drosophila wing. Here we show that Spalt and Spalt-related regulate the vein-specific expression of the transcription factors of the knirps and iroquois gene complexes, delimiting their domains of expression in the wing pouch. The effects of spalt/spalt-related mutations on knirps and iroquois expression are cell-autonomous, suggesting that they could be direct. The regulation of iroquois involves transcriptional repression by Spalt and Spalt-related, whereas the regulation of knirps involves a combination of transcriptional activation and repression mediated by the same genes. We suggest that the regulation of the iroquois and knirps gene complexes by Spalt and Spalt-related translates the Decapentaplegic morphogenetic gradient into precisely spaced pattern elements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Drosophila / growth & development*
  • Drosophila / metabolism
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism*
  • Insect Proteins / genetics
  • Insect Proteins / metabolism*
  • Mutagenesis
  • Phenotype
  • Repressor Proteins / biosynthesis*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Wings, Animal / growth & development
  • Zinc Fingers*


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Insect Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • caup protein, Drosophila
  • kni protein, Drosophila
  • salm protein, Drosophila