Localization of the DER/flb protein in embryos: Implications on the faint little ball lethal phenotype

Naomi B. Zak, Ronald J. Wides, Eyal D. Schejter, Erez Raz, Ben Zion Shilo

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78 Scopus citations


Antibodies were raised against the Drosophila EGF receptor homolog (DER) and used for immunohistochemical analyses of Drosophila embryos. We found that DER is localized in a wide array of embryonic tissues, displaying a dynamic pattern of expression. DER appears to be expressed in all cells at the cellular blastoderm and gastrula stages. In extended-germ-band embryos, it is found predominantly in the mesoderm and the head. Finally, in retracted-germ-band embryos, DER immunoreactivity is most pronounced at sites of somatic muscle attachments and along the ventral mid-line of the CNS. We have thus observed that DER is expressed in the diverse tissues which are affected in the DER faint little ball (flb) embryonic lethal phenotype. The different pattern and extent of expression in each tissue suggests that the disparate aspects of the flb phenotype may result from different mechanisms of DER function. To understand the basis for the CNS phenotype of DER/fib mutants, we have closely followed the collapse of the CNS in mutant embryos. Our observations on the evolution of the final CNS phenotype, in combination with the temporo-spatial pattern of appearance of DER in the ventral neuroepithelium, suggest that this receptor participates in the second phase of neuron-glia interactions, namely in stabilization of the ladder-like CNS scaffolding formed by outgrowth of pioneer axonal processes along the glial pre-pattern.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)865-874
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1990
Externally publishedYes


FundersFunder number
National Institute of General Medical SciencesR01GM035998


    • CNS midline
    • Drosophila embryonic development
    • Faint little ball
    • Muscle attachments
    • Tyrosine kinase receptors


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