Perturbing gene expression with baculovirus
- Alan Shirras
© BioMed Central Ltd 2000
Received: 2 December 1999
Published: 17 March 2000
A novel baculovirus misexpression system is shown to be functional in insect and vertebrate embryos.
Significance and context
Genetic interactions during Drosophila development have been extensively studied by analysis of loss-of-function mutations and by gene misexpression using P-element-mediated transformation. Although several developmentally important genes are conserved in other arthropod species, and their expression patterns have been characterized, establishing their function has been difficult because of the paucity of easily identifiable mutations and the lack of compatible misexpression systems. Oppenheimer et al. show that recombinant baculovirus can be used as a vector for misexpression of genes in a range of species, allowing questions about gene interactions to be answered in otherwise genetically intractable organisms.
Supplementary material to Curr Biol 9:1288-1296 includes more detailed methodology. The interactive fly and GeNet, the gene networks database have further information on Drosophila wg and en and their interaction during development. Nipam Patel's homepage at the University of Chicago has some information on research in his lab. A Lab manual for baculovirus techniques is available online.
This paper, and another in the same issue of Current Biology using recombinant Sindbis virus, represents a major step forward in the analysis of genetic interactions during development of non-model species by describing generally applicable systems for ectopic expression. In addition to the Xenopus work by Oppenheimer et al., both labs describe some success in using these systems in other non-insect species, opening up the possibility of a wide-ranging study of the conservation of developmental mechanisms.