The Drosophila eye is composed of dorsal and ventral mirror-image fields of opposite chiral forms of ommatidia. The boundary between these fields is known as the equator. We describe a novel gene, mirror (mrr), which is expressed in the dorsal half of the eye and plays a key role in forming the equator. Ectopic equators can be generated by juxtaposing mrr expressing and nonexpressing cells, and the path of the normal equator can be altered by changing the domain of mrr expression. These observations suggest that mrr is a key component in defining the dorsal-ventral boundary of tissue polarity in the eye. In addition, loss of mrr function leads to embryonic lethality and segmental defects, and its expression pattern suggests that it may also act to define segmental borders. Mirror is a member of the class of homeoproteins defined by the human proto-oncogene PBXI. mrr is similar to the Iroquois genes ara and caup and is located adjacent to them in this recently described homeotic cluster.
- eye development