Main Menu (Mobile)- Block
Main Menu - Block
Note: Research in this publication was not performed at Janelia.
The rhodopsin genes of Drosophila melanogaster are expressed in nonoverlapping subsets of photoreceptor cells within the insect visual system. Two of these genes, Rh3 and Rh4, are known to display complementary expression patterns in the UV-sensitive R7 photoreceptor cell population of the compound eye. In addition, we find that Rh3 is expressed in a small group of paired R7 and R8 photoreceptor cells at the dorsal eye margin that are apparently specialized for the detection of polarized light. In this paper we present a detailed characterization of the cis-acting requirements of both Rh3 and Rh4. Promoter deletion series demonstrate that small regulatory regions (less than 300 bp) of both R7 opsin genes contain DNA sequences sufficient to generate their respective expression patterns. Individual cis-acting elements were further identified by oligonucleotide-directed mutagenesis guided by interspecific sequence comparisons. Our results suggest that the Drosophila rhodopsin genes share a simple bipartite promoter structure, whereby the proximal region constitutes a functionally equivalent promoter "core" and the distal region determines cell-type specificity. The expression patterns of several hybrid rhodopsin promoters, in which all or part of the putative core regions have been replaced with the analogous regions of different rhodopsin promoters, provide additional evidence in support of this model.