Genetic control of cell division patterns in the Drosophila embryo

Cell. 1989 Apr 7;57(1):177-87. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(89)90183-9.


In Drosophila embryogenesis, mitotic control undergoes a significant transition during the 14th interphase. Mitoses before interphase 14 run on maternal products, and occur in metasynchronous waves. Mitoses after interphase 14 require zygotic transcription, and occur asyncronously in an intricate, highly ordered spatio-temporal pattern. Mutations at the string (stg) locus cause cell-cycle arrest during this transition, in G2 of interphase 14, yet do not arrest other aspects of development. This phenotype suggests that stg is required specifically for initiating mitosis. We describe the cloning of stg, and show that its predicted amino acid sequence is homologous to that of cdc25, a regular of mitotic initiation in the yeast S. pombe. In addition, we show that zygotic expression of stg mRNA occurs in a dynamic series of spatial patterns which anticipate the patterns of the zygotically driven cell divisions. Therefore we suggest that regulated expression of stg mRNA controls the timing and location of these embryonic cell divisions.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Cell Division
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA Probes
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / cytology*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genes, Regulator
  • Insect Hormones / genetics*
  • Insect Hormones / metabolism
  • Insect Hormones / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Mitosis / drug effects
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phenotype
  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases*
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Saccharomyces
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • DNA Probes
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Insect Hormones
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Phosphoprotein Phosphatases
  • Protein Tyrosine Phosphatases
  • stg protein, Drosophila

Associated data

  • GENBANK/M24909