Collaborative Resources for
Learning Developmental Biology
Collaborative Resources for Learning Developmental Biology
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Drosophila Engrailed, Ultrabithorax Movie
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Nipam Patel
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Published on SDB CoRe: Sep 28 2012

Organisms: Model Organisms; Invertebrates
Tools & Techniques: Visualizing Genes/ Proteins; Microscopy
Embryonic Patterning: Segmentation; Compartments/Boundaries
Organism: Drosophila
Stage of Development: Embryo

Object Description

Stage 12 Drosophila melanogaster embryo immunostained for the segment polarity protein Engrailed (En, green) and the homeotic protein Ultrabithorax (Ubx, red).  Anterior is up, initial view is ventral.  At the beginning of the movie, a 3D surface model of the embryo (using DAPI data, blue) shows the obvious grooves that separate each segment.  The surface is then "dissolved" away to reveal the expression pattern of En in stripes that are located in the posterior portion of each segment.  At this stage, Ubx is expressed most strongly in parasegment 6 and posteriorly in parasegments 7-12, with some expression in parasegment 5.  Segment polarity genes, such as engrailed, maintain boundaries between segmental units and refine patterns within each segment, while homeotic genes, such as Ubx, establish regional identity and help give each segment its unique identity.


Gilbert, S.F. Developmental Biology. 6th edition. Sunderland, MA, Sinauer Associates, 2000. The Origins of Anterior-Posterior Polarity.

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