P-element-mediated enhancer detection applied to the study of oogenesis in Drosophila.
Grossniklaus U., Bellen HJ., Wilson C., Gehring WJ.
We have stained the ovaries of nearly 600 different Drosophila strains carrying single copies of a P-element enhancer detector. This transposon detects neighbouring genomic transcriptional regulatory sequences by means of a beta-galactosidase reporter gene. Numerous strains are stained in specific cells and at specific stages of oogenesis and provide useful ovarian markers for cell types that in some cases have not previously been recognized by morphological criteria. Since recent data have suggested that a substantial number of the regulatory elements detected by enhancer detection control neighbouring genes, we discuss the implications of our results concerning ovarian gene expression patterns in Drosophila. We have also identified a small number of insertion-linked recessive mutants that are sterile or lead to ovarian defects. We observe a strong correlation with specific germ line staining patterns in these strains, suggesting that certain patterns are more likely to be associated with female sterile genes than others. On the basis of our results, we suggest new strategies, which are not primarily based on the generation of mutants, to screen for and isolated female sterile genes.