Isolation and characterization of the disconnected gene of Drosophila melanogaster.
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Mutations in the disco (disconnected) gene prevent the establishment of stable connections between the larval optic nerves, the Bolwig's nerves, and their target cells in the brain during embryonic development. The failure of this initial connection is associated with aberrant development of the optic lobes which are largely degenerate in the mutant adult fly. In order to understand the role of disco in establishing this connection, we isolated and characterized the disco gene. A 22 kb DNA fragment can completely rescue the mutant phenotype. A single transcript, 2.9 kb in length, is found in this region and is expressed throughout development of the fly. We determined the nucleotide sequence of the disco gene to be unique when compared with sequences in a number of databases. The predicted amino acid sequence contains a region with similarity to the consensus established for the zinc finger motif. Mobilization of a P-element inserted near the gene resulted in the deletion of the 5' end of the gene and produced flies indistinguishable from those carrying the disco allele.
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