The enhancer of split locus and neurogenesis in Drosophila melanogaster

Dev Biol. 1987 Jul;122(1):262-73. doi: 10.1016/0012-1606(87)90351-4.


Enhancer of split (E(spl)) is one of a group of so-called neurogenic genes of Drosophila. We describe two different types of E(spl) alleles, dominant and recessive, which exert opposite effects on both central and peripheral nervous system development. The only extant dominant allele determines a reduction in the number of central neurons and peripheral sensilla; this phenotype is not reduced by a normal complement of wild-type alleles. Since animals carrying a triploidy for the wild-type locus develop similar defects, the dominant allele is probably the result of a gain-of-function mutation. Several recessive alleles, obtained as revertants of the dominant allele, are loss-of-function mutations and determine considerable neural hyperplasia. The present evidence suggests that neural defects of E(spl) mutants are due to defective segregation of neural and epidermal lineages, leading to neural commitment of less or of more cells than in the wild type, depending upon whether the animals carry the dominant or any of the recessive alleles, respectively. Therefore, E(spl) formally behaves as a gene switching between neural and epidermal pathways.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Central Nervous System / growth & development
  • Drosophila melanogaster / embryology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / growth & development
  • Epidermal Cells
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Male
  • Mutation
  • Nervous System / cytology
  • Nervous System / growth & development*
  • Peripheral Nerves / growth & development
  • Phenotype
  • Sense Organs / growth & development