A genetic characterization ofrunt activity during Drosophila embryogenesis

Joseph Bailey Duffy, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


The Drosophila melanogaster gene runt encodes a novel transcriptional regulator that was originally identified on the basis of its key role in embryonic pattern formation. For my thesis I undertook a genetic analysis of runt activity to identify loci that interact with this unique transcriptional regulator. Specifically, I screened the genome with deficiencies for loci that interact with runt in a dose-dependent fashion during early embryogenesis. From this screen I discovered a vital dose-dependent interaction between runt and the achaete-scute complex (AS-C). The characterization of this interaction led to the exciting discovery of important roles for runt in sex determination and neurogenesis (Duffy and Gergen 1991, Duffy et al. 1991). I demonstrated that in sex determination runt is necessary for the normal transcriptional activation of the master sex-determining gene Sx1 and has all the properties of an X:A numerator element. I also showed that runt is required during the early stages of neurogenesis for the normal development of a subset of CNS ganglion mother cells and neurons. In addition, the screen, which focused on the identification and characterization of maternal loci that influence the activity of runt during segmentation, identified several new maternal loci, one of which affects the activity of the maternal posterior group genes on embryonic pattern formation.

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Recommended Citation

Duffy, Joseph Bailey, "A genetic characterization ofrunt activity during Drosophila embryogenesis" (1992). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9312167.