The odd-skipped family of zinc finger genes promotes Drosophila leg segmentation

Dev Biol. 2003 Nov 15;263(2):282-95. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2003.07.011.


Notch signaling controls formation of joints at leg segment borders and growth of the developing Drosophila leg. Here, we identify the odd-skipped gene family as a key group of genes that function downstream of the Notch receptor to promote morphological changes associated with joint formation during leg development. odd, sob, drm, and bowl are expressed in a segmental pattern in the developing leg, and their expression is regulated by Notch signaling. Ectopic expression of odd, sob, or drm can induce invaginations in the leg disc epithelium and morphological changes in the adult leg that are characteristic of endogenous invaginating joint cells. These effects are not due to an alteration in the expression of other genes of the developing joint. While odd or drm mutant clones do not affect leg segmentation, and thus appear to act redundantly, bowl mutant clones do perturb leg development. Specifically, bowl mutant clones result in a failure of joint formation from the distal tibia to tarsal segment 5, while more proximal clones cause melanotic protrusions from the leg cuticle. Together, these results indicate that the odd-skipped family of genes mediates Notch function during leg development by promoting a specific aspect of joint formation, an epithelial invagination. As the odd-skipped family genes are involved in regulating cellular morphogenesis during both embryonic segmentation and hindgut development, we suggest that they may be required in multiple developmental contexts to induce epithelial cellular changes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carrier Proteins / physiology
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology*
  • Drosophila / embryology*
  • Drosophila Proteins / physiology
  • Extremities / embryology*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / physiology*
  • Zinc Fingers*


  • Carrier Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • bowl protein, Drosophila
  • drm protein, Drosophila
  • odd protein, Drosophila