An EP overexpression screen for genetic modifiers of Notch pathway function in Drosophila melanogaster

Genet Res. 2004 Apr;83(2):71-82. doi: 10.1017/s0016672304006731.


The Notch pathway comprises a signal transduction cascade required for the proper formation of multiple tissues during metazoan development. Originally described in Drosophila for its role in nervous system formation, the pathway has attracted much wider interest owing to its fundamental roles in a range of developmental and disease-related processes. Despite extensive analysis, Notch signaling is not completely understood and it appears that additional components of the pathway remain to be identified and characterized. Here, we describe a novel genetic strategy to screen for additional Notch pathway genes. The strategy combines partial loss of function for pathway activity with Enhancer-promoter (EP)-induced overexpression of random loci across the dorsoventral wing margin. Mastermind (Mam) is a nuclear component of the Notch signaling cascade. Using a GAL4-UAS-driven dominant-negative form of Mam, we created a genotype that exhibits a completely penetrant dominant wing-nicking phenotype. This phenotype was assayed for enhancement or suppression after outcrossing to several thousand EP lines. The screen identified known components or modifiers of Notch pathway function, as well as several potential new components. Our results suggest that a genetic screen that combines partial loss of function with random gene overexpression might be a useful strategy in the analysis of developmental pathways.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism
  • Enhancer Elements, Genetic*
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic*
  • Receptors, Notch
  • Wings, Animal / abnormalities
  • Wings, Animal / growth & development


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • N protein, Drosophila
  • Receptors, Notch