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Ectopic expression of homeotic genes caused by the elimination of the Polycomb gene in Drosophila imaginal epidermis
A. Busturia, G. Morata


The morphological patterns in the adult cuticle of Drosophila are determined principally by the homeotic genes of the bithorax and Antennapedia complexes. We find that many of these genes become indiscriminately active in the adult epidermis when the Pc gene is eliminated. By using the Pc3 mutation and various BX-C mutant combinations, we have generated clones of imaginal cells possessing different combinations of active homeotic genes. We find that, in the absence of BX-C genes, Pc- clones develop prothoracic patterns; this is probably due to the activity of Sex combs reduced which overrules Antennapedia. Adding contributions of Ultrabithorax, abdominal-A and Abdominal-B results in thoracic or abdominal patterns. We have established a hierarchical order among these genes: Antp less than Scr less than Ubx less than abd-A less than Abd-B. In addition, we show that the engrailed gene is ectopically active in Pc- imaginal cells.