Activation and repression of transcription by the gap proteins hunchback and Kruppel in cultured Drosophila cells

P. Zuo, D. Stanojevic, J. Colgan, K. Han, M. Levine, J. L. Manley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Scopus citations

Abstract

We have studied the ability of the Drosophila gap proteins Kruppel and hunchback to function as transcriptional regulators in cultured cells. Both proteins bind to specific sites in a 100-bp DNA fragment located upstream of the segment gene engrailed, which also contains functional binding sites for a number of homeo box proteins. The hunchback protein is a strikingly concentration-dependent activator of transcription, capable of functioning both by itself and also synergistically with the pair-rule proteins fushi tarazu and paired. In contrast, Kruppel is a transcriptional repressor that can block transcription induced either by hunchback or by several different homeo box proteins. While repression of the homeo box protein activators requires a Kruppel-binding site on the DNA, repression of hunchback can occur efficiently in the absence of a Kruppel-binding site. We discuss the possible molecular mechanisms underlying these activities, as well as the potential significance of these results with respect to segmentation in Drosophila.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-264
Number of pages11
JournalGenes and Development
Volume5
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology

Keywords

  • Drosophila gap proteins
  • homeo box protein
  • pair-rule proteins
  • segment polarity gene

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