The Drosophila engrailed and invected genes: partners in regulation, expression and function

Genetics. 1996 Mar;142(3):893-906.


We isolated and characterized numerous engrailed and invected alleles. Among the deficiencies we isolated, a mutant lacking invected sequences was viable and phenotypically normal, a mutant lacking engrailed was an embryo lethal and had slight segmentation defects, and a mutant lacking both engrailed and invected was most severely affected. In seven engrailed alleles, mutations caused translation to terminate prematurely in the central or C-terminal portion of the coding sequence, resulting in embryonic lethality and segmentation defects. Both engrailed and invected expression declined prematurely in these mutant embryos. In wild-type embryos, engrailed and invected are juxtaposed and are expressed in essentially identical patterns. A breakpoint mutant that separates the engrailed and invected transcription units parceled different aspects of the expression pattern to engrailed or invected. We also found that both genes cause similar defects when expressed ectopically and that the protein products of both genes act to repress transcription in cultured cells. We propose that the varied phenotypes of the engrailed alleles can be explained by the differential effects these mutants have on the combination of engrailed and invected activities, that engrailed and invected share a regulatory region, and that they encode redundant functions.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Drosophila / embryology
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Drosophila / growth & development
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Gene Rearrangement
  • Genes, Insect*
  • Genetic Complementation Test
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics*
  • Insect Hormones / genetics*
  • Mutation
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • En protein, Drosophila
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Insect Hormones
  • Transcription Factors
  • inv protein, Drosophila