Expression of the disconnected gene during development of Drosophila melanogaster.
Lee KJ., Freeman M., Steller H.
Proper development of the larval visual nerve, Bolwig's nerve, of Drosophila melanogaster requires the wild type function of the disconnected (disco) gene. In disco mutants, the nerve does not make stable connections with its targets in the larval brain. We have begun to explore the role of disco in the formation of the nervous system by examining the distribution of disco mRNA and protein in embryos and third instar larvae using in situ hybridization and antibody staining respectively. No differences between the distribution patterns of the two products are detected; disco is expressed in many tissues including both neural and non-neural cells. Many of the cells which express disco undergo extensive movement during development as they participate in major morphogenetic movements. Antibody staining shows that the protein is found in the cell nucleus. Products of the disco gene are detected in cells near the terminus of the growing Bolwig's nerve. In embryos homozygous for either of two mutant alleles of disco, the disco protein is absent near the nerve terminus, although protein distribution elsewhere is indistinguishable from wild type.