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Dev Biol 1990 Jul;140(1):57-72
Department of Biological Sciences, Fairchild Center, Columbia University, New York, New York 10027.
The process of segmentation in Drosophila is controlled by both maternal and zygotic genes. Members of the gap class of segmentation genes play a key role in this process by interpreting maternal information and controlling the expression of pair-rule and homeotic genes. We have analyzed the pattern of expression of a variety of homeotic, pair-rule, and gap genes in tailless and giant gap mutants. tailless acts in two domains, one anterodorsal and one posterior. In its anterior domain tailless exerts a repressive effect on the expression of fushi tarazu, hunchback, and Deformed. In its posterior domain of action, tailless is responsible for the establishment of Abdominal-B expression and demarcating the posterior boundary of the initial domain of expression of Ultrabithorax. giant is an early zygotic regulator of the gap gene hunchback: in giant- embryos, alterations in the anterior domain of hunchback expression are visible by the beginning of cycle 14. giant also regulates the establishment of the expression patterns of Antennapedia and Abdominal-B. In particular, giant is the factor that controls the anterior limit of early Antennapedia expression.
PMID: 1972684, UI: 90292349
EMBO J 1989 May;8(5):1527-37
Department of Genetics, University of Cambridge, UK.
Both maternally supplied products and zygotically acting segmentation genes are required to establish the segment pattern of the Drosophila embryo. These genes are thought to act in part by regulating the expression of the homeotic genes. Products of the maternal and zygotic gap genes are present in the egg prior to blastoderm formation, when the homeotic genes are initially expressed within precisely bounded domains. In order to assess the first regulatory interactions between some of these gap gene products and the homeotic genes, we have examined the spatial distribution of transcripts arising from the homeotic Antp and Ubx genes during early embryogenesis in various mutant backgrounds. Here we show that mutations in both maternally and zygotically acting gap genes differentially affect the initial spatial domains of transcripts arising from each of these homeotic gene promoters. Later in embryogenesis, the patterns of homeotic gene expression change in both the wild-type and mutant cases, suggesting that other regulatory activities come into play. We propose a model in which the initial activation of each homeotic gene promoter depends on a unique combination of gap and pair-rule gene activities.
PMID: 2569971, UI: 89356624
EMBO J 1990 Apr;9(4):1187-98
Department of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06511.
In Drosophila embryos, anterior-posterior positional identities are set and maintained by the expression boundaries of homeotic selector genes. The establishment of the initial expression boundaries of the homeotic genes are in turn dependent on earlier acting patterning genes of Drosophila. To define the combinations of early genes that are required to establish a unique blastoderm stripe of expression of the homeotic gene Deformed, we have analysed single and double patterning mutants and heat shock promoter fusion constructs that ectopically express early acting regulators. We find that the activation of Deformed is dependent on combinatorial input from at least three levels of the early hierarchy. The simplest activation code sufficient to establish Deformed expression, given the absence of negative regulators such as fushi-tarazu, consists of a moderate level of expression from the coordinate gene bicoid, in combination with expression from both the gap gene hunchback, and the pair-rule gene even-skipped. In addition, the activation code for Deformed is redundant; other pair-rule genes in addition to even-skipped can apparently act in combination with bicoid and hunchback to activate Deformed.
PMID: 2323337, UI: 90214629
Development 1991 Feb;111(2):611-21
Department of Biological Sciences, Fairchild Center, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027.
The gap genes play a key role in establishing pair-rule and homeotic stripes of gene expression in the Drosophila embryo. There is mounting evidence that overlapping gradients of gap gene expression are crucial for this process. Here we present evidence that the segmentation gene giant is a bona fide gap gene that is likely to act in concert with hunchback, Kruppel and knirps to initiate stripes of gene expression. We show that Kruppel and giant are expressed in complementary, non-overlapping sets of cells in the early embryo. These complementary patterns depend on mutually repressive interactions between the two genes. Ectopic expression of giant in early embryos results in the selective repression of Kruppel, and advanced-stage embryos show cuticular defects similar to those observed in Kruppel- mutants. This result and others suggest that the strongest regulatory interactions occur among those gap genes expressed in nonadjacent domains. We propose that the precisely balanced overlapping gradients of gap gene expression depend on these strong regulatory interactions, coupled with weak interactions between neighboring genes.
PMID: 1893878, UI: 91372157
Genes Dev 1988 Mar;2(3):350-60
Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder 80309-0347.
The specification of segment number and identity in the Drosophila embryo requires the activity of several classes of genes that may be grouped according to the array of pattern elements that they control. Double-label immunofluorescence was used to simultaneously localize the products of genes representative of the pair-rule segmentation class (fushi tarazu), the segment polarity class (engrailed), and the homeotic class (Sex combs reduced, Antennapedia, and Ultrabithorax) of pattern-regulating genes. The temporal order of appearance of each class of proteins and the precise spatial relationships between the products of the different genes are described with single-cell resolution. Boundaries of gene expression, particularly the parasegmental boundaries, are established by early-acting genes such as fushi tarazu and subsequently respected by the expression patterns of later appearing gene products such as engrailed and Ultrabithorax, suggesting regulatory relationships between certain pairs of genes. In addition, the dynamic transitions observed in spatial relationship among the Sex combs reduced, Antennapedia, and Ultrabithorax homeotic protein patterns during the early period of embryogenesis may reflect cross-regulatory interactions among these genes. Finally, some cells contain a single homeotic product, whereas other cells simultaneously contain several, suggesting that certain cells may be determined by the combinatorial action of homeotic genes.
PMID: 2897943, UI: 88243016
Development 1991 Feb;111(2):367-78
Department of Cell Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Medical Center, Houston 77030.
The Drosophila gene giant (gt) is a segmentation gene that affects anterior head structures and abdominal segments A5-A7. Immunolocalization of the gt product shows that it is a nuclear protein whose expression is initially activated in an anterior and a posterior domain. Activation of the anterior domain is dependent on the maternal bicoid gradient while activation of the posterior domain requires maternal nanos gene product. Initial expression is not abolished by mutations in any of the zygotic gap genes. By cellular blastoderm, the initial pattern of expression has evolved into one posterior and three anterior stripes of expression. The evolution, position and width of these stripes are dependent on interactions between gt and the other gap genes. In turn, gt activity in these domains affects the expression of the other gap genes. These interactions, typical of the cross-regulation previously observed among gap genes, confirm that gt is a member of the gap gene class whose function is necessary to establish the overall pattern of gap gene expression. After cellular blastoderm, gt protein continues to be expressed in the head region in parts of the maxillary and mandibular segments as well as in the labrum. Expression is never detected in the labial or thoracic segment primordia but persists in certain head structures, including the ring gland, until the end of embryonic development.
PMID: 1716553, UI: 91372136
Development 1989;107 Suppl:21-9
Max Planck Institut fur Entwicklungsbiologie, Tubingen, West Germany.
The establishment of the segmental pattern in the Drosophila embryo is directed by three sets of maternal genes: the anterior, the terminal and the posterior group of genes. Embryos derived from females mutant for one of the posterior group genes lack abdominal segmentation. This phenotype can be rescued by transplantation of posterior pole plasm into the abdominal region of mutant embryos. We transplanted posterior pole plasma into the middle of embryos mutant either for the posterior, the anterior and posterior, or all three maternal systems and monitored the segmentation pattern as well as the expression of the zygotic gap gene Kruppel in control and injected embryos. We conclude that polarity and identity of the abdominal segments do not depend on the relative concentration of posterior activity but rather on the position of gap gene expression. By changing the pattern of gap gene expression, the orientation of the abdomen can be reversed. These experiments suggest that maternal gene products act in a strictly hierarchical manner. The function of the maternal gene products becomes dispensable once the position of the zygotically expressed gap genes is determined. Subsequently the gap genes will control the pattern of the pair-rule and segment polarity genes.
PMID: 2636137, UI: 90255388
Nature 1988 Mar 17;332(6161):281-4
Max-Planck Institut fur Entwicklungsbiologie, Arbeitsgruppe Jackle, Tubingen, FRG.
Segmentation in the inset embryo is initiated by maternally provided information, which is stored in the developing oocyte. In Drosophila, the genes necessary for this process have been genetically characterized. The anterior segmented region is organized by the bicoid (bcd) gene product. The posterior segmented region is organized by several interacting gene products, among them the oskar (osk) gene product. The first zygotic group of genes, which are thought to respond to the spatial cues provided by the maternal genes, are the gap genes, whose members include hunchback (hb), Kruppel (Kr) and knirps (kni). To elucidate the role played by the maternal genes in expression of the gap gene hb, antibodies were raised against a fusion protein and were used for the cytological localization of the hb gene product in wild-type and mutant embryos. The hb protein is predominantly located in the nucleus. Its spatial expression includes the formation of an anterior-posterior gradient during the early cleavage stages and a strong zygotic expression in the anterior half of the embryo. Analysis of embryos mutant for the maternal genes affecting the anterior-posterior segmentation pattern shows that the formation of the early gradient is controlled by the osk group of genes, whereas efficient activation of the zygotic anterior expression domain is dependent on bcd activity.
PMID: 2450283, UI: 88156967
EMBO J 1988 Jan;7(1):205-14
Department of Biological Sciences Fairchild Center, Columbia University, New York, NY 10027.
The maintenance of selective patterns of homeotic gene expression within the Drosophila CNS involves cross-regulatory interactions among the genes of the antennapedia and bithorax complexes (ANT-C and BX-C). Such a mechanism does not appear to be responsible for the establishment of these selective expression patterns during early development. Here we show that mutations in several of the gap genes strongly alter the early patterns of Antp and Abd-B expression. The altered patterns that are observed do not always correlate with simple expectations based on cuticular pattern defects observed in advanced-stage mutants. It appears that the initial patterns of Antp and Abd-B expression involve their differential regulation by a common set of gap genes. We propose that the gap genes are largely responsible for integrating the processes of segmentation and homeosis.
PMID: 2896123, UI: 88196080
Nature 1989 Sep 28;341(6240):337-40
Institut fur Genetik und Mikrobiologie, Munchen, FRG.
Segmental pattern formation in Drosophila proceeds in a hierarchical manner whereby the embryo is stepwise divided into progressively finer regions until it reaches its final metameric form. Maternal genes initiate this process by imparting on the egg a distinct antero-posterior polarity and by directing from the two polar centres the activities of the zygotic genes. The anterior system is strictly dependent on the product of the maternal gene bicoid (bcd), without which all pattern elements in the anterior region of the embryo fail to develop. The posterior system seems to lack such a morphogen. Rather, the known posterior maternal determinants simply define the boundaries within which abdominal segmentation can occur, and the process that actively generates the abdominal body pattern may be entirely due to the interactions between the zygotic genes. The most likely candidates among the zygotic genes that could fulfil the role of initiating the posterior pattern-forming process are the gap genes, as they are the first segmentation genes to be expressed in the embryo. Here we describe the interactions between the gap genes Kruppel (Kr), knirps (kni) and tailless (tll). We show that kni expression is repressed by tll activity, whereas it is directly enhanced by Kr activity. Thus, Kr activity is present throughout the domain of kni expression and forms a long-range protein gradient, which in combination with kni activity is required for abdominal segmentation of the embryo.
PMID: 2797151, UI: 90015118
Development 1991 Feb;111(2):601-9
We describe the regulated expression of the segmentation gene giant (gt) during early embryogenesis. The gt protein is expressed in two broad gradients in precellular embryos, one in anterior regions and the other in posterior regions. Double immunolocalization studies show that the gt patterns overlap with protein gradients specified by the gap genes hunchback (hb) and knirps (kni). Analysis of all known gap mutants, as well as mutations that disrupt each of the maternal organizing centers, indicate that maternal factors are responsible for initiating gt expression, while gap genes participate in the subsequent refinement of the pattern. The maternal morphogen bicoid (bcd) initiates the anterior gt pattern, while nanos (nos) plays a role in the posterior pattern. Gene dosage studies indicate that different thresholds of the bcd gradient might trigger hb and gt expression, resulting in overlapping but noncoincident patterns of expression. We also present evidence that different concentrations of hb protein are instructive in defining the limits of kni and gt expression within the presumptive abdomen. These results suggest that gt is a bona fide gap gene, which acts with hb, Kruppel and kni to initiate striped patterns of gene expression in the early embryo.
PMID: 1893877, UI: 91372156
J Cell Sci Suppl 1992;16:39-51
Abt. Molekulare Entwicklungsbiologie, Max-Planck-Institut fur biophysikalische Chemie, Gottingen, Germany.
The segmented body pattern along the longitudinal axis of the Drosophila embryo is established by a cascade of specific transcription factor activities. This cascade is initiated by maternal gene products that are localized at the polar regions of the egg. The initial long-range positional information of the maternal factors, which are transcription factors (or are factors which activate or localize transcription factors), is transferred through the activity of the zygotic segmentation genes. The gap genes act at the top of this regulatory hierarchy. Expression of the gap genes occurs in discrete domains along the longitudinal axis of the preblastoderm and defines specific, overlapping sets of segment primordia. Their protein products, which are DNA-binding transcription factors mostly of the zinc finger type, form broad and overlapping concentration gradients which are controlled by maternal factors and by mutual interactions between the gap genes themselves. Once established, these overlapping gap protein gradients provide spatial cues which generate the repeated pattern of the subordinate pair-rule gene expression, thereby blue-printing the pattern of segmental units in the blastoderm embryo. Our results show different strategies by which maternal gene products, in combination with various gap gene proteins, provide position-dependent sets of transcriptional activator/repressor systems which regulate the spatial pattern of specific gap gene expression. Region-specific combinations of different transcription factors that derive from localized gap gene expression eventually generate the periodic pattern of pair-rule gene expression by the direct interaction with individual cis-acting "stripe elements" of particular pair-rule gene promoters. Thus, the developmental fate of blastoderm cells is programmed according to their position within the anterior-posterior axis of the embryo: maternal transcription factors regulate the region-specific expression of first zygotic transcription factors which, by their specific and unique combinations, control subordinate zygotic transcription factors, thereby subdividing the embryo into increasingly smaller units later seen in the larva.
PMID: 1297651, UI: 93216856
EMBO J 1990 Apr;9(4):1199-207
Universitat Munchen, Institut fur Genetik und Mikrobiologie, FRG.
The region-specific homeotic gene fork head (fkh) is expressed and required in a variety of tissues of the developing Drosophila embryo. In order to identify the cis regulatory elements directing the complex spatio-temporal expression pattern of fkh, we have studied the subpatterns directed by defined fragments of fkh genomic DNA. These experiments enabled us to distinguish separate regulatory elements specific for the different expression domains of fkh. In addition, our analysis revealed several unexpected features such as the redundancy of regulatory elements and the overlap of regulatory elements with the transcribed regions of other genes. Moreover, the separation of normally contiguous elements effecting expression in the posterior terminal fkh domain appears to lead to novel expression domains which do not correspond to known developmental units in the embryo.
PMID: 1969795, UI: 90214630
Curr Opin Genet Dev 1993 Aug;3(4):606-14
Centro de Biologia Molecular CSIC-UAM, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain.
Recently, there has been significant progress in advancing understanding of Drosophila homeotic function: including the different mechanisms of activation and maintenance of homeotic gene expression; the phenomenon of phenotypic suppression; and the search for genes downstream of the homeotic genes. Comparison between Drosophila and other species suggests a common functional organization of homeotic complexes in the animal kingdom.
PMID: 7902147, UI: 94060692
Development 1995 Jun;121(6):1855-66
Centro de Biologia Molecular Severo Ochoa, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, Spain.
The expression of the abdominal-A and Abdominal-B genes of the bithorax complex of Drosophila is controlled by cis-regulatory infraabdominal regions. The activation of these regions along the anteroposterior axis of the embryo determines where abdominal-A and Abdominal-B are transcribed. There is spatially restricted transcription of the infraabdominal regions (infraabdominal transcripts) that may reflect this specific activation. We show that the gap genes hunchback, Kruppel, tailless and knirps control abdominal-A and Abdominal-B expression early in development. The restriction of abdominal-A and Abdominal-B transcription is preceded by (and requires) the spatially localized activation of regulatory regions, which can be detected by the distribution of infraabdominal transcripts. The activation of these regions (except the infraabdominal-8 one) could require no specific gap gene. Instead, a general mechanism of activation, combined with repression by gap genes in the anteroposterior axis, seems to be responsible for delimiting infraabdominal active domains. The gradients of the hunchback and Kruppel products seem to be key elements in this restricted activation.
PMID: 7600999, UI: 95324409
Nature 1989 Apr 20;338(6217):646-8
Department of Genetics, Cambridge, UK.
The development of the body plan in the Drosophila embryo depends on the activity of maternal determinants localized at the anterior and posterior of the egg. These activities define both the polarity of the anterior-posterior (AP) axis and the spatial domains of expression of the zygotic gap genes, which in turn control the subsequent steps in segmentation. The nature and mode of action of one anterior determinant, the bicoid(bcd) gene product, has recently been defined, but the posterior determinants are less well characterized. At least seven maternally acting genes are required for posterior development. Mutations in these maternal posterior-group genes result in embryos lacking all abdominal segments. Cytoplasmic transplantation studies indicate that the maternally encoded product of the nanos(nos) gene may act as an abdominal determinant, whereas the other maternal posterior-group genes appear to be required for the appropriate localization and stabilization of this signal. Here we show that the lack of the nos gene product can be compensated for by eliminating the maternal activity of the gap gene hunchback (hb). Embryos lacking both of these maternally derived gene products are viable and can survive as fertile adults. These results suggest that the nos gene product functions by repressing the activity of the maternal hb products in the posterior of the egg.
PMID: 2704419, UI: 89201354
EMBO J 1989 Sep;8(9):2677-85
Zoological Institute, University of Zurich, Switzerland.
The visceral mesoderm adhering to the midgut constitutes an internal germ layer of the Drosophila embryo that stretches along most of the anteroposterior axis (parasegment 2-13). Most cells of the midgut visceral mesoderm express exclusively one of five homeotic genes. Three of these genes, Antennapedia, Ultrabithorax and abdominal-A are active in parasegmental domains characteristic for this germ layer as they are nonoverlapping and adjacent. The common boundaries between these domains depend on mutual regulatory interactions between the three genes. The same genes function to control gut morphogenesis. Two further homeotic genes Sex combs reduced and Abdominal-B are expressed at both ends of the midgut visceral mesoderm, although absence of their expression does not appear to affect gut morphogenesis. There are no regulatory interactions between these two and the other homeotic genes. As a rule, the anterior limit of each homeotic gene domain in the visceral mesoderm is shifted posteriorly by one parasegment compared to the ectoderm. The domains result from a set of regulatory processes that are distinct from the ones ruling in other germ layers.
PMID: 2573526, UI: 90060029
Nature 1990 Aug 9;346(6284):577-80
Institut fur Genetik and Mikrobiologie, Universitat Munchen, FRG.
Segmentation of the Drosophila embryo depends on a hierarchy of interactions among the maternal and zygotic genes in the early embryo. The anterior region is organized maternally by the bicoid (bcd) gene product, which forms a concentration gradient in the anterior half of the embryo. The gap genes are also involved in establishing the body plan, with hunchback (hb) being expressed both maternally and zygotically. Zygotic expression of hb is directly activated by the bcd gene product, leading to a subdivision of the embryo into an anterior half expressing zygotically provided hb protein and a posterior half that does not. A similar effect on maternally provided hb protein is caused by the gene nanos, which represses the translation of maternally provided transcripts in the posterior half. This regulation of hb protein is a prerequisite for abdomen development, because the presence of hb protein in the posterior half represses posterior segmentation. This repression mechanism suggests that posterior segmentation might not directly depend on maternal positional cues, but be solely organized at the zygotic level. Here we report further evidence to support this hypothesis and show that the hb protein itself is crucially involved in organizing abdominal segmentation. Differential concentrations of hb protein determine the anterior and posterior borders of expression of the gap gene Kruppel (Kr) and the anterior border of the gap gene knirps (kni), thus defining three positional values. These regulatory pathways are controlled in a redundant way, in part by bcd and in part by the maternal hb gene product.
PMID: 2377231, UI: 90332045
Trends Genet 1994 Oct;10(10):358-64
Departement de Zoologie et Biologie Animale, Universite de Geneve, Switzerland.
Homeotic genes identify structures along the anterior to posterior axis during the development of most animals. These genes are clustered into complexes, and their positions within the cluster correlates with their time of expression and the positions of the anterioposterior boundaries of their expression domains. Functional analyses have revealed that this specific genetic order also coincides with a functional hierarchy among members of these complexes, so that the products of more posterior genes in the cluster tend to be prevalent over those of more anterior genes.
PMID: 7985240, UI: 95076522
EMBO J 1993 Apr;12(4):1415-25
Homeotic genes determine the developmental fates of cells. Restriction of their expression along the body axis is of prime importance for normal development. We searched for cis-regulatory sequences within Abdominal-B (Abd-B), a homeotic Drosophila gene, by testing genomic Abd-B fragments for their ability to confer beta-galactosidase (beta-gal) expression in transformed embryos. One of the Abd-B fragments, called IAB5, mediates a beta-gal pattern restricted along the body axis to the Abd-B expression domain. Alterations of the IAB5 pattern in gap mutants provide evidence that the protein products of the gap genes hunchback, Kruppel and knirps act as repressors through IAB5. The anterior Abd-B expression limit is apparently determined by Kruppel repression, whereas the knirps repressor may be responsible for the graded Abd-B expression within the Abd-B domain. IAB5 and two other fragments called MCP and FAB show region-specific silencing activity: they suppress at a distance beta-gal expression mediated by a linked heterologous enhancer. Silencing requires hunchback as well as Polycomb function and evidently provides maintenance of Abd-B expression limits throughout embryogenesis. We conclude that transcriptional repression is a key mechanism operating at multiple levels to control Abd-B expression. The striking similarities between the control of Abd-B and of Ultrabithorax, another homeotic Drosophila gene, may point to a universal principle underlying homeotic gene regulation.
PMID: 8096812, UI: 93223681
Development 1995 Apr;121(4):1023-8
Zoologisches Institut, Universitat, Munchen, Germany.
caudal (cad) is a maternally and zygotically expressed gene in Drosophila whereby the two phases of expression can functionally replace each other. The zygotic expression forms an abdominal and a posterior domain, whereby only the posterior domain has so far been studied with respect to its regulation and function. We show here that the abdominal cad domain is regulated by the hunchback (hb) gradient through repression at high concentrations and activation at low concentrations of HB protein. To study the function of the abdominal cad domain in the absence of redundant interactions, we have utilized an experimental system in which the embryo lacks the normal bicoid (bcd) and hb expression. An artificial hb gradient is then introduced into such embryos, which results in an induction of an ectopic zygotic cad domain in the more anterior region. Employing this system, we show that the cad domain functions by activating the expression of the abdominal gap genes knirps (kni) and giant (gt). We conclude that cad is the so far missing region-specific activator of abdominal segmentation genes.
PMID: 7743918, UI: 95262548
EMBO J 1988 Sep;7(9):2881-7
Max-Planck-Institut fur Entwicklungsbiologie, Abt. Biochemie, Tubingen, FRG.
The Drosophila gap gene hunchback (hb) is required for the establishment of the anterior segment pattern of the embryo, and also for a small region of the posterior segment pattern. The hb gene encodes two transcripts from two promoters which show a differential regulation, although they code for the same protein product. The 3.2-kb transcript is expressed during oogenesis and forms an anterior-posterior gradient during the early stages of development. The first zygotic expression of hb during cleavage stages 11-12 is due to the 2.9-kb transcript. Its expression is under the control of the anterior pattern organizer gene bicoid (bcd) and it appears to be necessary and sufficient for the anterior segmentation. The 3.2-kb transcript is expressed again at syncytial blastoderm stage in the anterior yolk nuclei, as well as in an anterior stripe which is posteriorly adjacent to the domain of the 2.9-kb transcript, and as a posterior stripe. Using hb-promoter/lacZ fusion gene constructs in combination with germ line transformation, we have delimited a regulatory region for the 2.9-kb transcript to approximately 300 bp upstream of the site of transcription initiation and show that this region is sufficient to confer the full regulation by bcd.
PMID: 2846287, UI: 89030655
Development 1989 Nov;107(3):651-62
Max-Planck-Institut fur Entwicklungsbiologie, Tubingen, FRG.
The metameric organisation of the Drosophila embryo is generated early during development, due to the action of maternal effect and zygotic segmentation and homeotic genes. The gap genes participate in the complex process of pattern formation by providing a link between the maternal and the zygotic gene activities. Under the influence of maternal gene products they become expressed in distinct domains along the anteroposterior axis of the embryo; negative interactions between neighboring gap genes are thought to be involved in establishing the expression domains. The gap gene activities in turn are required for the correct patterning of the pair-rule genes; little is known, however, about the underlying mechanisms. We have monitored the distribution of gap and pair-rule genes in wild-type embryos and in embryos in which the anteroposterior body pattern is greatly simplified due to combinations of maternal effect mutations (staufen exuperantia, vasa exuperantia, vasa exuperantia, bicoid oskar, bicoid oskar torsolike, vasa torso exuperantia). We show that the domains of protein distribution of the gap genes hunchback and Kruppel overlap in wild-type embryos. Based on the analysis of the maternal mutant combinations, we suggest an explanation of how this overlap is generated. Furthermore, our data show that different constellations of gap gene activities provide different input for the pair-rule genes, and thus strongly suggest that the overlap of hunchback and Kruppel in wild-type is functional in the formation of the patterns of pair-rule genes.
PMID: 2612383, UI: 90126395
Mech Dev 1991 Nov;35(3):205-11
Institut fur Genetik und Mikrobiologie, Universitat Munchen, F.R.G.
We have studied the genetic requirement for the normal expression of the terminal gap genes huckebein (hkb) and tailless (tll) and their possible function in the posterior pole region of the Drosophila embryo. At the early blastoderm stage, both genes are expressed in largely coextensive expression domains. Our results show that in the posterior region of the embryo both the activation and the control of the spatial limits of tll and hkb expression are critically dependent on torso (tor) activity, which is thought to be a crucial component of a cellular signal transduction pathway provided by the terminal maternal system. Furthermore, the spatial control of hkb and tll expression does not require mutual interactions among each other, nor does it require regulatory input from other gap genes which are essential for the establishment of segmentation in the trunk region of the embryo ("central gap genes"). Therefore, the terminal gap genes have unique regulatory features which are distinct from the central gap genes. In the absence of terminal gap gene activities, as in hkb and tll mutant embryos, the expression domains of the central gap genes expand posteriorly, indicating that the terminal gap gene activities prevent central gap gene expression in the posterior pole region of the wildtype embryo. This, in turn, suggests that the terminal gap gene activities prevent metamerization by repression of central gap genes, thereby distinguishing the segmented trunk from the nonsegmented tail region of the embryo.
PMID: 1768621, UI: 92118674
Mech Dev 1993 May;41(2-3):139-53
Department of Biology, University of California-Santa Barbara 93106.
The closely linked POU domain genes pdm-1 and pdm-2 are first expressed early during cellularization in the presumptive abdomen in a broad domain that soon resolves into two stripes. This expression pattern is regulated by the same mechanisms that define gap gene expression domains. The borders of pdm-1 expression are set by the terminal system genes torso and tailless, and the gradient morphogen encoded by hunchback. The resolution into two stripes is controlled by the gap gene knirps. Ectopic expression of pdm-1 at the cellular blastoderm stage leads to disruptions in pair rule gene expression and in anterior segmentation. The broad abdominal domain of pdm-1 protein is lacking in nanos- mutant embryos, and ectopic pdm-1 expression in nanos- embryos leads to a partial restoration of abdominal segmentation. These data suggest that the pdm genes may act in segmentation near the level of the zygotic gap genes.
PMID: 8518192, UI: 93298651
Science 1990 Apr 27;248(4954):495-8
Universitat Munchen, Institut fur Genetik und Mikrobiologie, Federal Republic of Germany.
In Drosophila three maternal pattern organizing activities, the anterior, the posterior, and the terminal, establish the anterior-posterior body pattern of the embryo by initiating the spatially restricted activities of the gap class of zygotic segmentation genes. The activities of tailless (tll) and the newly identified gap gene huckebein (hkb) are specifically involved in mediating the maternal terminal information at the posterior end of the blastoderm embryo.
PMID: 2158673, UI: 90232364
Science 1991 Oct 18;254(5030):418-21
Department of Biology, University of California, Los Angeles 90024.
One of the first zygotically active genes required for formation of the terminal domains of the Drosophila embryo is tailless (tll). Expression of the tll gene is activated ectopically in gain-of-function mutants of the maternal terminal gene torso (tor); this suggests that tor normally activates the tll gene in the termini. Ectopic expression of tll under the control of an inducible promoter results in differentiation of ectopic terminal-specific structures, the Filzkorper, and leads to the activation of at least one gene, hunchback, that is required to form these structures. Ectopic expression of the tll gene also represses segmentation by repressing the gap genes Kruppel and knirps and probably also pair rule genes.
PMID: 1925599, UI: 92022598
Nature 1995 Jul 20;376(6537):253-6
Abteilung Molekulare Entwicklungsbiologie, Max-Planck-Institut fur biophysikalische Chemie, Gottingen, Germany.
The process of body prepatterning during Drosophila blastoderm formation relies on the localized activities of zygotic segmentation genes, which are controlled by asymmetrically distributed maternal determinants. The anterior determinant bicoid, a homeodomain transcription factor, forms an anterior-to-posterior concentration gradient. It interacts with the maternal transcription factor hunchback to activate the anterior zygotic patterning genes, including the central gap gene Kruppel (Kr). In contrast, the posterior maternal system does not provide such a decisive transcription factor, but rather prevents the repressor hunchback from acting in the posterior half so that the gap genes giant (gt) and knirps (kni) are activated by an as yet unknown transcription factor. Here we show that caudal, a conserved homeodomain protein that forms a posterior-to-anterior concentration gradient, and the anterior determinant bicoid cooperate to form a partly redundant activator system in the posterior region of the embryo.
PMID: 7617036, UI: 95342239
Nature 1986 Dec 11-17;324(6097):592-7
In the Drosophila embryo the establishment and specification of metameric units depends upon the selective activation of the segmentation and the homoeotic selector genes. The former are necessary for establishing the appropriate number of metameric or parasegmental units, whereas the latter control the pathways of differentiation followed by particular parasegments. Classical embryological manipulations have show n that these processes must be closely coordinated during normal development. However, previous studies of pair-rule genes have led to the suggestion that the specification of segmental identity proceeds independently of the establishment of metameres as physical units. These apparently conflicting perspectives can be reconciled by envisaging a common maternally derived positional information system which is independently interpreted by the components of both processes. In the case of the partitioning process, the gap and pair-rule genes would be instrumental in translating this information, whereas the activation of the homeotic genes would be mediated via other intermediaries (see ref. 9 for review). It is difficult to see, however, how such a system could ensure the precise regulation of the tw o types of genes implicit in the final differentiated pattern. This difficulty has led to the suggestion that the segmentation mechanism must define the precise boundaries of selector gene expression. Here we confirm this suggestion and propose that the gene fushi tarazu plays a key role in this process, integrating the processes of metameric partitioning and regional specification in the Drosophila embryo.
PMID: 2878371, UI: 87065147
Nature 1989 Apr 27;338(6218):741-4
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, New York 10032.
Opposing anterior and posterior morphogen systems specify the segmented body pattern of Drosophila. The anterior morphogen, bicoid, exerts a direct, instructive influence on head and thoracic pattern by triggering different outcomes according to changes in its concentration along the body. In contrast, the posterior morphogen, nanos, simply defines where abdominal patterning can occur by eliminating an otherwise ubiquitous repressor, hunchback protein, from the posterior half of the embryo. Within this hunchback-free domain the pattern of abdominal segments must be specified by other morphogens, possibly by shorter range gradients of the products of zygotic gap genes Kruppel, knirps and tailless.
PMID: 2716822, UI: 89238521
Science 1992 Feb 21;255(5047):986-9
Max-Planck Institut fur Biophysikalische Chemie, Abteilung Molekulare Entwicklungsbiologie, Gottingen, Germany.
The gap genes of Drosophila are the first zygotic genes to respond to the maternal positional signals and establish the body pattern along the anterior-posterior axis. The gap gene knirps, required for patterning in the posterior region of the embryo, can be activated throughout the wild-type embryo and is normally repressed from the anterior and posterior sides. These results provide direct molecular evidence that the posterior morphogen system interacts in a fundamentally different manner than do hunchback and bicoid, which are responsible for anterior pattern formation.
PMID: 1546296, UI: 92188162
Development 1994 Jun;120(6):1671-83
Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology, State University of New York at Stony Brook 11794-5215.
The Drosophila Runt protein is a member of a new family of transcriptional regulators that have important roles in processes extending from pattern formation in insect embryos to leukemogenesis in humans. We used ectopic expression to investigate runt's function in the pathway of Drosophila segmentation. Transient over-expression of runt under the control of a Drosophila heat-shock promoter caused stripe-specific defects in the expression patterns of the pair-rule genes hairy and even-skipped but had a more uniform effect on the secondary pair-rule gene fushi tarazu. Surprisingly, the expression of the gap segmentation genes, which are upstream of runt in the segmentation hierarchy was also altered in hs/runt embryos. A subset of these effects were interpreted as due to an antagonistic effect of runt on transcriptional activation by the maternal morphogen bicoid. In support of this, expression of synthetic reporter gene constructs containing oligomerized binding sites for the Bicoid protein was reduced in hs/runt embryos. Finally, genetic experiments demonstrated that regulation of gap gene expression by runt is a normal component of the regulatory program that generates the segmented body pattern of the Drosophila embryo.
PMID: 8050373, UI: 94326664
Bioessays 1994 Aug;16(8):549-56
Department of Zoology, University of Geneva, Switzerland.
The use of Drosophila chromosomal rearrangements and transposon constructs involving the white gene reveals the existence of repressive chromatin domains that can spread over considerable genomic distances. One such type of domain is found in heterochromatin and is responsible for classical position-effect variegation. Another type of repressive domain is established, beginning at specific sequences, by complexes of Polycomb Group proteins. Such complexes, which normally regulate the expression of many genes, including the homeotic loci, are responsible for silencing, white gene variegation, pairing-dependent effects and insertional targeting.
PMID: 7916186, UI: 94368295
Genes Dev 1990 Jul;4(7):1209-23
Department of Biology, Princeton University, New Jersey 08544-1003.
We characterized a gene, extradenticle, which seems to interact with a specific subset of Drosophila homeo domain proteins, possibly affecting their target specificity. This interpretation is based on an examination of the zygotic and maternal effect phenotypes of extradenticle mutations. In embryos with reduced levels of extradenticle gene product, anterior and posterior segmental transformations occur. Segmental identity in Drosophila is mediated by the products of the Antennapedia and bithorax complexes. These homeo domain proteins are thought to regulate different target genes specifically in each segment, resulting in different morphologies. extradenticle alters segmental identity without affecting the pattern of expression of homeotic genes. Genetic tests demonstrate that in extradenticle mutants, the homeotic proteins are functional and act in their normal segmental domains, yet segmental identities are altered. Even when homeotic proteins are ectopically expressed under the control of a heterologous promoter, extradenticle mutations affect their consequences. Thus, in the absence of sufficient extradenticle product, altered segmental morphology results from alteration of the functional consequences of specific homeo domain proteins, possibly through alterations in their target gene specificity. extradenticle is also expressed maternally. Complete removal of extradenticle, maternally and zygotically, leads to specific alterations in segmentation, many of which result from failure to maintain the expression of the homeo domain protein engrailed.
PMID: 1976570, UI: 91007264
Nature 1990 Aug 2;346(6283):485-8
Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.
In the Drosophila embryo, cell fate along the anterior-posterior axis is determined by maternally expressed genes. The activity of the bicoid (bcd) gene is required for the development of larval head and thoracic structures, and that of maternal torso (tor) for the development of the unsegmented region of the head (acron). In contrast to the case of thoracic and abdominal segmentation, the hierarchy of zygotically expressed genes controlling head development has not been clearly defined. The bcd protein, which is expressed in a gradient, activates zygotic expression of the gap gene hunchback (hb), but hb alone is not sufficient to specify head development. Driever et al. proposed that at least one other bcd-activated gene controls the development of head regions anterior to the hb domain. We report here that the homeobox gene orthodenticle (otd), which is involved in head development, could be such a gene. We also show that otd expression responds to the activity of the maternal tor gene at the anterior pole of the embryo.
PMID: 1974036, UI: 90332011
Development 1992 Nov;116(3):805-10
UCSF School of Medicine, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics 94143.
The stable maintenance of expression patterns of homeotic genes depends on the function of a number of negative trans-regulators, termed the Polycomb (Pc) group of genes. We have examined the pattern of expression of the Drosophila segment polarity gene, engrailed (en), in embryos mutant for several different members of the Pc group. Here we report that embryos mutant for two or more Pc group genes show strong ectopic en expression, while only weak derepression of en occurs in embryos mutant for a single Pc group gene. This derepression is independent of two known activators of en expression: en itself and wingless. Additionally, in contrast to the strong ectopic expression of homeotic genes observed in extra sex combs- (esc-) mutant embryos, the en expression pattern is nearly normal in esc- embryos. This suggests that the esc gene product functions in a pathway independent of the other genes in the group. The data indicate that the same group of genes is required for stable restriction of en expression to a striped pattern and for the restriction of expression of homeotic genes along the anterior-posterior axis, and support a global role for the Pc group genes in stable repression of activity of developmental selector genes.
PMID: 1363229, UI: 93170182
Biochem Soc Trans 1994 Aug;22(3):557-61
Department of Anatomy, University of Cambridge, U.K.
PMID: 7821636, UI: 95121677
Development 1988 Aug;103(4):733-41
Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, UK.
The distributions of the products of the homeotic genes Sex combs reduced (Scr) and Ultrabithorax (Ubx) and of the segmentation genes, fushi tarazu (ftz), even skipped (eve) and engrailed (en) have been monitored in polyhomeotic (ph) mutant embryos. None of the genes monitored show abnormal expression at the blastoderm stage in the absence of zygotic ph expression. Both Scr and Ubx are ectopically expressed in the epidermis of ph embryos, confirming the earlier proposal, based on genetic analysis, that ph+ acts as a negative regulator of Antennapedia (ANT-C) and bithorax (BX-C) complex genes. At the shortened germ band stage, en is also ectopically expressed, mainly in the anterior region of each segment. In contrast to these effects in the epidermis, the expression of en, Ubx, Scr and ftz is largely or completely suppressed in the central nervous system, whereas eve becomes ectopically expressed in most neurones.
PMID: 2907878, UI: 89251248
Nature 1988 Dec 1;336(6198):489-92
Institut fur Genetik und Mikrobiologie, LMU Munchen, FRG.
The body pattern along the anterior-posterior axis of the insect embryo is thought to be established by two organizing centres localized at the ends of the egg. Genetic analysis of the polarity-organizing centres in Drosophila has identified three distinct classes of maternal effect genes that organize the anterior, posterior and terminal pattern elements of the embryo. The factors provided by these gene classes specify the patterns of expression of the segmentation genes at defined positions along the longitudinal axis of the embryo. The system responsible for organizing the posterior segment pattern is a group of at least seven maternal genes and the zygotic gap gene knirps (kni). Their mutant phenotype has adjacent segments in the abdominal region of the embryo deleted. Genetic analysis and cytoplasmic transplantation experiments suggested that these maternal genes are required to generate a 'posterior activity' that is thought to activate the expression of kni (reviewed in ref. 2). The molecular nature of the members of the posterior group is still unknown. Here we report the molecular characterization of the kni gene that codes for a member of the steroid/thyroid receptor superfamily of proteins which in vertebrates act as ligand-dependent DNA-binding transcription regulators.
PMID: 2904128, UI: 89057148
Genes Dev 1987 Sep;1(7):716-30
Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder 80309-0347.
Homeotic genes are expressed in spatially precise patterns during Drosophila development to control segmental differentiation. The Sex combs reduced (Scr) gene of the Antennapedia gene complex is involved in the determination of the labial and prothoracic segments of the embryo. To study both the wild-type pattern of Scr expression and the regulatory relationships of Scr to other regulatory genes, an antibody probe that detects the Scr protein was prepared. We find that the Scr gene product is expressed in a dynamic pattern over the course of embryogenesis, beginning in the ectoderm in parasegment 2 while the germ band is elongated and extending to parasegment 3 during the completion of germ band shortening. The locations of Scr protein correlate well with the part of the embryo that are altered in Scr- mutants. After head involution occurs, Scr protein is also expressed in the ganglion corresponding to parasegment 2 of the ventral nervous system. The precise spatial expression of Scr is attained through regulation by both homeotic genes and segmentation genes. The lack of proper Antennapedia or Polycomb gene function causes ectopic Scr protein expression. Mutations in the segmentation genes fushi tarazu, hunchback, Kruppel, and giant alter the spatial pattern of Scr expression.
PMID: 2892760, UI: 88112815
EMBO J 1990 Dec;9(13):4287-97
The stable determination of different anterior-posterior regions of the Drosophila embryo is controlled by the persistent expression of homeotic selector genes. One mechanism that has been proposed to explain the persistent expression of the homeotic gene Deformed is an autoactivation circuit that would be used once Deformed expression had been established by earlier acting patterning genes. Here we show that a large cis-regulatory element mapping approximately 5 kb upstream of the Deformed transcription start has the properties predicted for a Deformed autoregulatory enhancer. This element provides late, spatially localized expression in the epidermal cells of the maxillary and mandibular segments which is wholly dependent upon endogenous Deformed function. In addition, the autoregulatory enhancer can be activated ectopically in embryos and in imaginal disc cells by ectopic expression of Deformed protein. Deletion analysis of the autoregulatory element indicates that it contains compartment specific sub-elements similar to those of other homeotic loci.
PMID: 1979945, UI: 91092251
Development 1990 Jun;109(2):271-7
Department of Cell Biology, Biozentrum der Universitat, Basel, Switzerland.
The effects of heat-shock-induced ectopic expression of the homeobox gene caudal (cad) at all stages of Drosophila development have been examined. Presence of cad protein (CAD) at the anterior end of cellular blastoderm embryos was found to disrupt head development and segmentation, due to alteration of the expression of segmentation genes such as fushi tarazu and engrailed, as well as repression of head-determining genes such as Deformed. These results support the conclusion that, while CAD is probably required to activate transcription of fushi tarazu in the posterior half of the embryo, it should not be expressed in the anterior half prior to gastrulation, and thus suggest a role for the CAD gradient. Ectopic expression of CAD at later stages of development has no obvious effects on embryogenesis or imaginal disc development, suggesting that the homeotic genes of the Antennapedia and Bithorax Complexes are almost completely epistatic to caudal.
PMID: 1976085, UI: 90382243
Nature 1990 Aug 2;346(6283):482-5
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030.
The first phase of embryonic development in Drosophila consists of the elaboration and interpretation of maternally encoded information that specifies spatial pattern in the embryo. The product of the maternal gene bicoid (bcd) is thought to organize the anterior pattern of the embryo. Although the bcd transcript is localized at the anterior pole of the egg the bcd protein forms a stable concentration gradient through the anterior two thirds of the embryo. The graded distribution of bcd protein defines position along the anterior-posterior axis of the embryo through the spatially restricted activation of subordinate targets such as the gap gene hunchback (hb). In vitro manipulation of specific bcd protein binding sites has shown that the gradient of bcd protein can in principle define more than one discrete domain of spatially restricted gene activation in the head of the embryo, depending on the affinity of the available binding sites for the bcd protein. Genetic analysis has indicated the need for at least one additional zygotic segmentation gene to mediate bcd function in portions of the head that lie anterior to the hb domain. The missing gene activity is expected to be activated in response to higher levels of bcd protein than are required for hb activation. We report here that three previously identified zygotic genes buttonhead (btd), empty spiracles (ems) and orthodenticle (otd) may behave like gap genes that mediate bcd function in the embryonic head.
PMID: 1974035, UI: 90332010
EMBO J 1989 Sep;8(9):2687-93
We have analysed homeotic gene expression in the embryonic visceral mesoderm of segmentation mutants by antibody staining against Ultrabithorax, Antennapedia and Sex combs reduced protein. We found that even-skipped (eve) function is crucially required for homeotic gene expression, whereas most other segmentation mutations have only minor effects on position and/or width of the homeotic expression domains in this germ layer. Analysis of pair-rule double mutants indicates that complete loss of homeotic gene activity in the visceral mesoderm, as observed in amorphic eve mutants, correlates with loss of engrailed (en) expression in the epidermis and loss of segmentation. We suggest that the establishment of parasegment borders, a consequence of eve expression and witnessed by subsequent en expression, is a necessary precondition for homeotic gene expression in the visceral mesoderm.
PMID: 2573527, UI: 90060030
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1992 Aug 15;89(16):7511-5
The activity of homeotic genes in Drosophila cells determines segment-specific morphogenesis. Here, we provide evidence that the product of hunchback (hb), a segmentation gene, acts as a direct repressor or "silencer" of the homeotic gene Ultrabithorax (Ubx) and thus prevents ectopic activity of this gene: we show, by stable integration of reporter gene constructs, that hb protein binding sites are capable of repressing at a distance the activity of an embryonic Ubx enhancer outside the Ubx expression domain. This silencing activity is observed at advanced embryonic stages, at a time when the hb gene product is no longer detectable or required, and is dependent on the function of Polycomb (Pc). We propose a working hypothesis as to how hb protein in a "hit-and-run" fashion may effect stable and heritable silencing of the Ubx gene throughout advanced stages of development, thus mediating repression of this homeotic gene outside its realm of function.
PMID: 1354356, UI: 92366491
Mech Dev 1994 Apr;46(1):15-25
Centro de Biologia Molecular, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid-CSIC, Spain.
The homeotic gene abdominal-A (abd-A) is normally expressed in parasegments 7 to 13. We find that the initial distribution of the product is approximately uniform within this domain, but the subsequent elaboration of the expression pattern results in differences between, as well as within, parasegments. We have investigated the possible role of several pair-rule, e.g. fushi tarazu, even-skipped, runt, hairy, paired, and segment polarity e.g. engrailed, wingless, naked, patched and cubitus interruptus genes on the patterning of abd-A expression. We find that the establishment of the original abd-A expression domain is independent of any of these genes, but most of them are required for the subsequent elaboration of abd-A expression within the domain. The genes fushi tarazu, and especially engrailed, appear to act as transcriptional activating factors of abd-A.
PMID: 7915130, UI: 94347626
Nature 1989 Jan 12;337(6203):138-43
Max Planck Institut fur Entwicklungsbiologie, Abteilung III Genetik, Tubingen, FRG.
A gradient in concentration of the protein product of the bicoid gene is a determinant of the anterior-posterior axis of Drosophila embryos. By binding upstream of the segmentation gene hunchback the bicoid protein controls its transcription, thereby translating maternal pattern-generating information into differential activation of zygotic gene expression.
PMID: 2911348, UI: 89097249
Trends Genet 1990 Sep;6(9):287-92
Institut fur Genetik und Mikrobiologie, Universitat Munchen, FRG.
The striped pattern of expression of the Drosophila primary pair rule genes is controlled by independent regulatory units that give rise to individual stripes. The different stripes seem to respond in a concentration-dependent manner to the different combinations of maternal and gap protein gradients found along the anterior-posterior axis of the early embryo. Thus, the initial periodicity appears to be generated by putting together a series of nonperiodic events.
PMID: 2238086, UI: 91048865
Cell 1987 Nov 20;51(4):549-55
Max-Planck-Institut fur Entwicklungsbiologie, Abteilung Biochemie, Tubingen, Federal Republic of Germany.
We examined the protein domain of the gap gene Kruppel (Kr) in mutants that affect the establishment of different regions of the segment pattern along the longitudinal axis of the Drosophila embryo. Our data suggest that Kr provides cues for establishing the "central" pattern elements at the blastoderm stage, and that Kr activity is controlled by maternal effect genes acting at the poles. The formation of the Kr protein domain may involve ubiquitous activation of Kr gene expression which, however, is limited by region-specific repression through the action of the maternal anterior and posterior pattern organizer genes. In addition, the formation of the Kr protein domain depends on the activity of gap genes acting adjacent to the Kr domain, but it is independent of subordinate pair-rule gene activities.
PMID: 3119224, UI: 88052859
EMBO J 1992 Oct;11(10):3653-61
Parasegmental boundaries in the Drosophila embryo are delimited by the products of the fushi tarazu (ftz) and even-skipped (eve) genes. We show here that these act through particular key control regions of the homeotic gene Ultrabithorax (Ubx) to generate ftz- or eve-like stripe patterns of beta-galactosidase expression. Footprint analysis and tests in transformed embryos of constructs bearing mutated footprint regions suggest that ftz protein acts directly as a transcriptional activator of Ubx. Its activity outside the Ubx expression domain is suppressed by hunchback (hb), a repressor of Ubx. Some DNA binding sites for ftz protein are adjacent to, others overlap binding sites for hb protein, and we provide evidence that ftz protein competes with hb protein for DNA binding and/or for transcriptional activation. This competition mechanism results in a sharp anterior expression boundary. Direct activation of homeotic gene control regions by ftz (or eve) protein may be a regulatory step which is generally used to align expression of homeotic genes with parasegmental boundaries.
PMID: 1356761, UI: 93010957
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