Local action of long-range repressors in the Drosophila embryo

Y. Nibu, H. Zhang, M. Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Previous studies have identified two corepressors in the early Drosophila embryo: Groucho and dCtBP. Both proteins are recruited to the DNA template by interacting with short peptide motifs conserved in a variety of sequence-specific transcriptional repressors. Once bound to DNA, Groucho appears to mediate long-range repression, while dCtBP directs shortrange repression. The short-range Krüppel repressor was converted into a long-range repressor by replacing the dCtBP interaction motif (PxDLSxH) with a Groucho motif (WRPW). The resulting chimeric repressor causes a different mutant phenotype from that of the native Krüppel protein when misexpressed in transgenic embryos. The different patterning activities can be explained on the basis of long-range silencing within the hairy 5′ regulatory region. The analysis of a variety of synthetic transgenes provides evidence that Groucho-dependent long-range repressors do not always cause the dominant silencing of linked enhancers within a complex cis-regulatory region. We suggest a 'hot chromatin' model, whereby repressors require activators to bind DNA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2246-2253
Number of pages8
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2001
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • General Neuroscience


  • CtBP
  • Drosophila
  • Embryo
  • Groucho
  • Long-range repression


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