Genomic regions required for morphogenesis of the Drosophila embryonic midgut.
D Bilder, M P Scott


The Drosophila midgut is an excellent system for studying the cell migration, cell-cell communication, and morphogenetic events that occur in organ formation. Genes representative of regulatory gene families common to all animals, including homeotic, TGF beta, and Wnt genes, play roles in midgut development. To find additional regulators of midgut morphogenesis, we screened a set of genomic deficiencies for midgut phenotypes. Fifteen genomic intervals necessary for proper midgut morphogenesis were identified, three contain genes already known to act in the midgut. Three other genomic regions are required for formation of the endoderm or visceral mesoderm components of the midgut. Nine regions are required for proper formation of the midgut constrictions. The E75 ecdysone-induced gene, which encodes a nuclear receptor superfamily member, is the relevant gene in one region and is essential for proper formation of midgut constrictions. E75 acts downstream of the previously known constriction regulators or in parallel. Temporal hormonal control may therefore work in conjunction with spatial regulation by the homeotic genes in midgut development. Another genomic region is required to activate transcription of the homeotic genes Antp and Scr specifically in visceral mesoderm. The genomic regions identified by this screen provide a map to novel midgut development regulators.