Groucho and dCtBP mediate separate pathways of transcriptional repression in the Drosophila embryo

Hailan Zhang, Michael Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

81 Scopus citations


The precellular Drosophila embryo contains 10 well characterized transcriptional repressors. At least half are short-range repressors that must bind within 100 bp of either upstream activators or the core transcription complex to inhibit (or quench) gene expression. The two long- range repressors can function over distances of 1 kilobase or more to silence transcription. Previous studies have shown that three of the five short- range repressors interact with a common corepressor protein, dCtBP. In contrast, the two long-range repressors, Hairy and Dorsal, recruit a different corepressor protein, Groucbo. Hairy also was shown to interact with dCtBP, thereby raising the possibility that Groucho and dCtBP are components of a common corepressor complex. To investigate this issue, we have misexpressed wild-type and mutant forms of Hairy in transgenic embryos. Evidence is presented that Hairy-mediated repression depends on the Groucho interaction sequence (WRPW) but not the weak dCtBP motif (PLSLV) present in the native protein. Conversion of the PLSLV motif into an optimal dCtBP interaction sequence (PLDLS) disrupts the activity of an otherwise normal Hairy protein. These results suggest that dCtBP and Groucho mediate separate pathways of transcriptional repression and that the two proteins can inhibit one another when both bind the same repressor.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)535-540
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 19 1999
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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