Drosophila dorsoventral (DV) patterning and mammalian hematopoiesis are regulated by related signaling pathways (Toll, interleukin-1) and transcription factors (dorsal, nuclear factor-κB). These factors interact with related enhancers, such as the rhomboid NEE and κ light chain enhancer, that contain similar arrangements of activator and repressor binding sites. It is shown that the κ enhancer can generate lateral stripes of gene expression in transgenic Drosophila embryos in a pattern similar to that directed by the rhomboid NEE. Drosophila DV determinants direct these stripes through the corresponding mammalian cis regulatory elements in the κ enhancer, including the κB site and κE boxes. These results suggest that enhancers can couple conserved signaling pathways to divergent gene functions.
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