Different core promoters possess distinct regulatory activities in the Drosophila embryo

Sumio Ohtsuki, Michael Levine, Haini N. Cai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

183 Scopus citations


There are numerous examples of shared enhancers interacting with just a subset of target promoters. In some cases, specific enhancer-promoter interactions depend on promoter competition, whereby the activation of a preferred target promoter precludes expression of linked genes. Here, we employ a transgenic embryo assay to obtain evidence that promoter selection is influenced by the TATA element. Both the AE1 enhancer from the Drosophila Antennapedia gene complex (ANT-C) and the IAB5 enhancer from the Bithorax complex (BX-C) preferentially activate TATA-containing promoters when challenged with linked TATA-less promoters. In contrast, the rho neuroectoderm enhancer (NEE) does not discriminate between these two classes of promoters. Thus, certain upstream activators, such as Ftz, prefer TATA- containing promoters, whereas other activators, including Dorsal, work equally well on both classes of promoters. These results provide in vivo evidence that different core promoters possess distinct regulatory activities. We discuss the possibility that an invariant TFIID complex can adopt different conformations on the core promoter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)547-556
Number of pages10
JournalGenes and Development
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 1998
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology


  • Core promoter
  • Drosophila
  • Initiator elements
  • Promoter-enhancer interactions
  • TATA box


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