Roux's archives of developmental biology

, Volume 203, Issue 1–2, pp 60–73 | Cite as

Embryonic origin of the imaginal discs of the head of Drosophila melanogaster

  • Amelia Younossi-Hartenstein
  • Ulrich Tepass
  • Volker Hartenstein
Original articles


The embryonic development of the primordia of the Drosophila head was studied by using an enhancer trap line expressed in these structures from embryonic stage 13 onward. Particular attention was given to the question of how the adult head primordia relate to the larval head segments. The clypeo-labral bud to the stage 13 embryo is located at a lateral position in the labrum adjacent to the labral sensory complex (“epiphysis”). Both clypeo-labral bud and sensory complex are located anterior to the engrailed-expression domain of the labrum. Throughout late embryogenesis and the larval period, the clypeo-labral bud forms integral part of the epithelium lining the roof of the atrium. The labial disc originates from the lateral labial segment adjacent to the labial sensory complex (“hypophysis”). It partially overlaps with the labial en-domain. After head involution, the labial disc forms a small pocket in the ventro-lateral wall of the atrium. The eye-antenna disc develops from a relatively large territory occupying the dorso-posterior part of the procephalic lobe, as well as parts of the dorsal gnathal segments. Cells in this territory are greatly reduced in number by cell death during stages 12–14. After head involution, the presumptive eye-antenna disc occupies a position in the lateral-posterior part of the dorsal pouch. Evagination of this tissue occurs during the first hours after hatching. In the embryo, no en-expression is present in the presumptive eye-antenna disc. en-expression starts in three separate regions in the third instar larva.

Key words

Head development Eye-antenna disc Drosophila 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amelia Younossi-Hartenstein
    • 1
  • Ulrich Tepass
    • 1
  • Volker Hartenstein
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of California Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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