Drosophila Lyra mutations are gain-of-function mutations of senseless

Genetics. 2001 Jan;157(1):307-15.


The Lyra mutation was first described by Jerry Coyne in 1935. Lyra causes recessive pupal lethality and adult heterozygous Lyra mutants exhibit a dominant loss of the anterior and posterior wing margins. Unlike many mutations that cause loss of wing tissue (e.g., scalloped, Beadex, cut, and apterous-Xasta), Lyra wing discs do not exhibit increased necrotic or apoptotic cell death, nor do they show altered BrdU incorporation. However, during wing disc eversion, loss of the anterior and posterior wing margins is apparent. We have previously shown that senseless, a gene that is necessary and sufficient for peripheral nervous system (PNS) development, is allelic to Lyra. Here we show by several genetic criteria that Lyra alleles are neomorphic alleles of senseless that cause ectopic expression of SENSELESS in the wing pouch. Similarly, overexpression of SENSELESS in the wing disc causes loss of wing margin tissue, thereby mimicking the Lyra phenotype. Lyra mutants display aberrant expression of DELTA, VESTIGIAL, WINGLESS, and CUT. As in Lyra mutants, overexpression of SENSELESS in some areas of the wing pouch also leads to loss of WINGLESS and CUT. In summary, our data indicate that overexpression of SENSELESS causes a severe reduction in NOTCH signaling that in turn may lead to decreased transcription of several key genes required for wing development, leading to a failure in cell proliferation and loss of wing margin tissue.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Drosophila / growth & development
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Genes, Insect*
  • Insect Proteins / genetics*
  • Larva / genetics
  • Larva / growth & development
  • Mutation*
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Wings, Animal / growth & development


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Insect Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • sens protein, Drosophila