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Gene Review

bw  -  brown

Drosophila melanogaster

Synonyms: CG17632, Dmel\CG17632, Pm, Protein brown, Su(w[co2]), ...
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Disease relevance of bw

  • By contrast, infection of shrimp by a bacterial pathogen, Vibrio harveyi did not induce a reduction of Pm Ago1 mRNA suggesting that its expression is associated with virus infection [1].

High impact information on bw

  • Classical, or constitutive (Brown, 1966), heterochromatin is a nearly ubiquitous aspect of higher eukaryotic chromosome structure and its genetic significance has been debated since its first description (Heitz, 1928, 1929) [2].
  • Among the cDNAs identified by hybridization to the cosmids, one class hybridized to a genomic region that is interrupted in two brown mutants, bw and In(2LR)CK, and to 2.8- and 3.0-kilobase poly(A)+ RNAs which are altered in the mutants [3].
  • To study the regulation of Prat expression in the adult eye, we used the Prat:bw reporter gene, in which the Prat coding region was replaced with the brown (bw) coding region [4].
  • Although key components of the Drosophila JAK/STAT pathway have been identified [Brown et al., Curr. Biol. 11 (2001) 1700, reviewed in Zeidler et al., Oncogene 19 (2000) 2598], regulators of the pathway, and SOCS genes in particular, have not yet been characterised [5].
  • Molecular and cellular evidence argues that a heterodimer between two ABC transporters, the White protein and the Brown protein, is responsible for pumping guanine into pigment-synthesizing cells of the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster [6].

Biological context of bw

  • As a first step toward determining whether spontaneous laboratory mutations are predictive for mutational events occurring in the wild, recessive brown (bw) eye color mutants were isolated [7].
  • By inbreeding the progeny of wild-caught Drosophila melanogaster females, bw mutations were isolated from seven separate geographic sites distributed among Japan, California. Siberia and Hungary [7].
  • The variegating mutation brownDominant (bwD) of Drosophila melanogaster is associated with an insertion of heterochromatin into chromosome arm 2R at 59E, the site of the bw gene [8].
  • Significant fitness interactions between genes on the Curly and Plum inversions in viability, fecundity, and sexual selection were found [9].
  • Maximum likelihood estimates of the relative fitnesses of Curly, Plum, Curly-Plum, and wild phenotypes were obtained from selection trajectories [10].

Anatomical context of bw

  • Analysis of salivary gland chromosomes carrying In(2R)bwVDe1 and In(2R)bwVDe2, evoking strong dominant bw variegation, has shown that in the rearranged homologues typical heterochromatization of the bw region and proximal neighbouring bands occurs [11].

Other interactions of bw

  • Two mutations affecting the red eye pigments (drosopterins), bw and mal, do not substantially perturb brown pigment synthesis in any of the four organs [12].


  1. Isolation and characterization of cDNA encoding Argonaute, a component of RNA silencing in shrimp (Penaeus monodon). Unajak, S., Boonsaeng, V., Jitrapakdee, S. Comp. Biochem. Physiol. B, Biochem. Mol. Biol. (2006) [Pubmed]
  2. The genetic analysis of D. melanogaster heterochromatin. Hilliker, A.J., Appels, R., Schalet, A. Cell (1980) [Pubmed]
  3. The brown protein of Drosophila melanogaster is similar to the white protein and to components of active transport complexes. Dreesen, T.D., Johnson, D.H., Henikoff, S. Mol. Cell. Biol. (1988) [Pubmed]
  4. Identification of trans-dominant modifiers of Prat expression in Drosophila melanogaster. Malmanche, N., Clark, D.V. Genetics (2003) [Pubmed]
  5. Cloning and expression of Drosophila SOCS36E and its potential regulation by the JAK/STAT pathway. Karsten, P., Häder, S., Zeidler, M.P. Mech. Dev. (2002) [Pubmed]
  6. Volatile general anesthetics reveal a neurobiological role for the white and brown genes of Drosophila melanogaster. Campbell, J.L., Nash, H.A. J. Neurobiol. (2001) [Pubmed]
  7. The molecular analysis of brown eye color mutations isolated from geographically discrete populations of Drosophila melanogaster. Nitasaka, E., Yamazaki, T., Green, M.M. Mol. Gen. Genet. (1995) [Pubmed]
  8. Modification of the Drosophila heterochromatic mutation brownDominant by linkage alterations. Talbert, P.B., LeCiel, C.D., Henikoff, S. Genetics (1994) [Pubmed]
  9. The estimation of epistasis in components of fitness in experimental populations of drosophila melanogaster II. Assessment of meiotic drive, viability, fecundity and sexual selection. Clark, A.G., Feldman, M.W. Heredity (1981) [Pubmed]
  10. The estimation of epistasis in components of fitness in experimental populations of Drosophila melanogaster I. A two-stage maximum likelihood model. Clark, A.G., Feldman, M.W., Christiansen, F.B. Heredity (1981) [Pubmed]
  11. Cytological study of the brown dominant position effect. Belyaeva, E.S., Koryakov, D.E., Pokholkova, G.V., Demakova, O.V., Zhimulev, I.F. Chromosoma (1997) [Pubmed]
  12. Tissue specific effects of ommochrome pathway mutations in Drosophila melanogaster. Tearle, R. Genet. Res. (1991) [Pubmed]
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