Interactions of decapentaplegic, wingless, and Distal-less in the Drosophila leg

Lewis I. Held, Michael A. Heup, J. Mark Sappington, Scott D. Peters

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The genes decapentaplegic, wingless, and Distalless appear to be instrumental in constructing the anatomy of the adult Drosophila leg. In order to investigate how these genes function and whether they act coordinately, we analyzed the leg phenotypes of the single mutants and their inter se double mutant compounds. In decapentaplegic the tarsi frequently exhibit dorsal deficiencies which suggest that the focus of gene action may reside dorsally rather than distally. In wingless the tarsal hinges are typically duplicated along with other dorsal structures, confirming that the hinges arise dorsally. The plane of symmetry in double-ventral duplications caused by decapentaplegic is virtually the same as the plane in double-dorsal duplications caused by wingless. It divides the fate map into two parts, each bisected by the dorsoventral axis. In the double mutant decapentaplegic wingless the most ventral and dorsal tarsal structures are missing, consistent with the notion that both gene products function as morphogens. In wingless Distal-less compounds the legs are severely truncated, indicating an important interaction between these genes. Distal-less and decapentaplegic manifest a relatively mild synergism when combined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)310-319
Number of pages10
JournalRoux's Archives of Developmental Biology
Issue number6
StatePublished - May 1994


  • Developmental genetics
  • Janus mutants
  • Pattern formation
  • Polar Coordinate Model
  • Positional information
  • bristles


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