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A broad expression profile of the GMR-GAL4 driver in Drosophila melanogaster

Author(s): W.-Z. Li, S.-L. Li, H.Y. Zheng, S.-P. Zhang and L. Xue

The GAL4/UAS binary system has been widely used in Drosophila melanogaster for ectopic expression of transgenes in a tissue-specific manner. The GMR-GAL4 driver, which expresses the yeast transcription factor GAL4 under the control of glass multiple reporter (GMR) promoter elements, has been commonly utilized to express target transgenes, specifically in the developing eye. However, we have observed abnormal wing phenotypes; this is a result of the activity of critical wing developing genes, e.g., components of the Notch or Wg pathway, that are up- or down-regulated under the control of the GMR-GAL4 driver. X-gal staining confirmed that UAS-LacZ is expressed in third-instar larva wing imaginal discs, as well as in eye discs, when driven by the GMR-GAL4 driver. Furthermore, we found that GMR-GAL4 also drives UAS-LacZ expression in other tissues, such as brain, trachea, and leg discs. These results indicate that GMR-GAL4 has a broad expression profile, rather than the eye-specific pattern described previously, and that one should be careful when using it as a tool for targeted gene expression.