Differential regulation of Ultrabithorax in two germ layers of Drosophila

Cell. 1988 May 20;53(4):567-76. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(88)90573-9.


The homeotic gene Ultrabithorax (Ubx) is expressed in specific parts of Drosophila embryos: in a single metamer in the visceral mesoderm and forming a complex pattern limited to a broad domain in the ectoderm and in the somatic mesoderm. Here we use a linked beta-galactosidase gene to identify cis-acting regulatory sequences. In the visceral mesoderm, correct expression of Ubx depends on localized upstream sequences. In the ectoderm, all galactosidase-positive transformants show the same characteristic pattern. The repeated elements of this basal pattern appear to be a sub-pattern of engrailed (en) expression; they depend on en function as well as on sequences in the Ubx RNA leader. We use a mutant (Haltere-mimic) to show that sequences that normally restrict segmental expression of Ubx in the ectoderm are located downstream from the RNA leader.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Drosophila / embryology
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Ectoderm
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Genes, Homeobox*
  • Mesoderm
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Protein Sorting Signals / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Transformation, Genetic


  • Protein Sorting Signals
  • RNA, Messenger