The segment polarity genes of Drosophila were initially defined as genes required for pattern formation within each embryonic segment. Some of these genes also function to establish the pattern of the adult cuticle. We have examined the role of the armadillo (arm) gene in this latter process. We confirmed and extended earlier findings that arm and the segment polarity gene wingless are very similar in their effects on embryonic development. We next discuss the role of arm in pattern formation in the imaginal discs, as determined by using a pupal lethal allele, by analyzing clones of arm mutant tissue in imaginal discs, and by using a transposon carrying arm to produce adults with a reduced level of arm. Together, these experiments established that arm is required for the development of all imaginal discs. The requirement for arm varies along the dorsal-ventral and proximal-distal axes. Cells that require the highest levels of arm are those that express the wingless gene. Further, animals with reduced arm levels have phenotypes that resemble those of weak alleles of wingless. We present a description of the patterns of arm protein accumulation in imaginal discs. Finally, we discuss the implications of these results for the role of arm and wingless in pattern formation.

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