Isolation and expression of scabrous, a gene regulating neurogenesis in Drosophila

M. Mlodzik, N. E. Baker, G. M. Rubin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

211 Scopus citations


Mutations in the Drosophila scabrous (sca) gene affect eye and bristle development, leading to irregular spacing of ommatidia and bristle duplications in the adult fly. We have cloned the sca gene by P-element tagging. The sca transcription unit is 12 kb and consists of four exons that are joined in a 3.2-kb mRNA. In an enhancer trap screen we have isolated several P[lacZ] insertions close to the sca transcription start site. We have examined the expression pattern of sca by in situ hybridization to sca transcripts, by β-galactosidase localization in the P[lacZ] lines, and by immunocytochemistry with an anti-sca antiserum. During embryogenesis, sca is expressed in a dynamic pattern associated with neural development. During imaginal development, sca is mainly expressed in the R8 photoreceptor precursor cells in the eye imaginal disc and in sensory organ precursor cells in other discs. In the wing disc, sca expression is coextensive with the anlagen for bristles and is controlled by genes of the achaete-scute complex. Based on its loss-of-function phenotype, expression pattern, and the predicted structure of its product, a secreted peptide with homology to the fibrinogen gene family, we propose that sca encodes a signal involved in lateral inhibition within individual domains of the developing nervous system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1848-1861
Number of pages14
JournalGenes and Development
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Drosophila
  • enhancer trap lines
  • genetic interactions
  • neurogenesis
  • pattern formation
  • scabrous

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology


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