Mutations affecting the development of the peripheral nervous system in Drosophila: a molecular screen for novel proteins

Genetics. 2000 Dec;156(4):1691-715. doi: 10.1093/genetics/156.4.1691.


In our quest for novel genes required for the development of the embryonic peripheral nervous system (PNS), we have performed three genetic screens using MAb 22C10 as a marker of terminally differentiated neurons. A total of 66 essential genes required for normal PNS development were identified, including 49 novel genes. To obtain information about the molecular nature of these genes, we decided to complement our genetic screens with a molecular screen. From transposon-tagged mutations identified on the basis of their phenotype in the PNS we selected 31 P-element strains representing 26 complementation groups on the second and third chromosomes to clone and sequence the corresponding genes. We used plasmid rescue to isolate and sequence 51 genomic fragments flanking the sites of these P-element insertions. Database searches using sequences derived from the ends of plasmid rescues allowed us to assign genes to one of four classes: (1) previously characterized genes (11), (2) first mutations in cloned genes (1), (3) P-element insertions in genes that were identified, but not characterized molecularly (1), and (4) novel genes (13). Here, we report the cloning, sequence, Northern analysis, and the embryonic expression pattern of candidate cDNAs for 10 genes: astray, chrowded, dalmatian, gluon, hoi-polloi, melted, pebble, skittles, sticky ch1, and vegetable. This study allows us to draw conclusions about the identity of proteins required for the development of the nervous system in Drosophila and provides an example of a molecular approach to characterize en masse transposon-tagged mutations identified in genetic screens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA Transposable Elements / genetics
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / embryology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Profiling*
  • Genes, Insect*
  • Genetic Complementation Test
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Insect Proteins / genetics*
  • Insect Proteins / physiology
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / physiology
  • Neurons / chemistry
  • Peripheral Nervous System / embryology*


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Insect Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins