A genetic screen for elements of the network that regulates neurogenesis in Drosophila

Mol Gen Genet. 1998 Feb;257(4):442-51. doi: 10.1007/s004380050668.


The development of external sensory organs on the notum of Drosophila is promoted by the proneural genes achaete and scute. Their activity defines proneural cell clusters in the wing imaginal disc. Ectopic expression, under control of the GAL4 system, of the proneural gene lethal of scute (l'sc) causes the development of ectopic bristles. Persistent ectopic expression of l'sc is not sufficient to impose a neural fate on any given cell. This implies that mutual inhibition, mediated by the Notch signaling pathway, occurs among the cells of the ectopic proneural cluster. Consequently, the dominant, quantifiable phenotype associated with ectopic expression of l'sc is modified by mutations in genes known to be involved in neurogenesis. This phenotype has been utilized to screen for dominant enhancers and suppressors that modify the number of ectopic bristles. In this way, about 100,000 progeny of EMS or X-ray-treated flies have been analyzed to identify autosomal genes involved in regulation of the neural fate. In addition 1200 chromosomes carrying lethal P-element insertions were screened for modifiers. Besides mutations in genes expected to modify the phenotype, we have isolated mutations in six genes not known so far to be involved in neurogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / embryology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Enhancer Elements, Genetic
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Genes, Dominant
  • Genetic Complementation Test
  • Insect Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Insect Proteins / genetics
  • Insect Proteins / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mechanoreceptors / metabolism
  • Mutagenesis
  • Phenotype
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / physiology
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins*
  • Sense Organs / embryology*
  • Transcription Factors / biosynthesis
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / physiology*


  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • GAL4 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Insect Proteins
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • l(1)sc protein, Drosophila