Embryonic expression of the single Tribolium engrailed homolog. Academic Article uri icon


  • We have cloned and sequenced the single Tribolium homolog of the Drosophila engrailed gene. The predicted protein contains a homeobox and several domains conserved among all engrailed genes identified to date. In addition it contains several features specific to the invected homologs of Bombyx and Drosophila, indicating that these features most likely were present in the ancestral gene in the common ancestor of holometobolous insects. We used the cross-reacting monoclonal antibody, 4D9, to follow the expression of the Engrailed protein during segmentation in Tribolium embryos. As in other insects, Engrailed accumulates in the nuclei of cells along the posterior margin of each segment. The first Engrailed stripe appears as the embryonic rudiment condenses. Then as the rudiment elongates into a germ band, Engrailed stripes appear in an anterior to posterior progression, just prior to morphological evidence of the formation of each segment. As in Drosophila (a long germ insect), expression of engrailed in Tribolium (classified as a short germ insect) is preceded by the expression of several homologous segmentation genes, suggesting that similar genetic regulatory mechanisms are shared by diverse developmental types.

publication date

  • 1994