Enhancer trap infidelity inDrosophila optomotor-blind

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Reporter gene activity in enhancer trap lines is often implicitly assumed to mirror quite faithfully the endogenous expression of the “trapped” gene, even though there are numerous examples of enhancer trap infidelity. optomotor-blind (omb) is a 160 kb gene in which 16 independent P-element enhancer trap insertions of three different types have been mapped in a range of more than 60 kb. We have determined the expression pattern of these elements in wing, eye-antennal and leg imaginal discs as well as in the pupal tergites. We noted that one pGawB insertion (ombP4) selectively failed to report parts of the omb pattern even though the missing pattern elements were apparent in all other 15 lines. We ruled out that ombP4 was defective in the Gal4 promoter region or had inactivated genomic enhancers in the integration process. We propose that the Gal4 reporter gene in pGawB may be sensitive to orientation or promoter proximity effects.

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