Complex function and expression of Delta during Drosophila oogenesis

Genetics. 1993 Apr;133(4):967-78.


Delta (Dl) encodes a cell surface protein that mediates cell-cell interactions central to the specification of a variety of cell fates during embryonic and postembryonic development of Drosophila melanogaster. We find that the Delta protein is expressed intermittently in follicle cells and in germ-line cells during stages 1-10 of oogenesis. Furthermore, Delta expression during oogenesis can be correlated with a number of morphogenetic defects associated with sterility observed in Dl mutant females, including failure of stalk formation within the germarium and subsequent fusion of egg chambers, necrosis in germ-line cells, and multiphasic embryonic arrest of fertilized eggs. We have also identified a Dl mutation that leads to context-dependent defects in Dl function during oogenesis. Direct comparison of Delta protein expression with that of the Notch protein in the ovary reveals substantial, but incomplete, coincidence of expression patterns in space and time. We discuss possible roles for the Delta protein in cell-cell interactions required for cell fate specification processes during oogenesis in light of available developmental and histochemical data.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Drosophila melanogaster / embryology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression
  • Insect Hormones / genetics
  • Insect Hormones / physiology*
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Larva
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins / genetics
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology*
  • Mutation
  • Oogenesis / genetics
  • Oogenesis / physiology*
  • Ovary / cytology
  • Ovary / physiology
  • Receptors, Notch


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Insect Hormones
  • Intracellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • N protein, Drosophila
  • Receptors, Notch
  • delta protein