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Mol Cell Biol. Oct 1993; 13(10): 6357–6366.
PMCID: PMC364694

The Drosophila Polycomb-group gene Enhancer of zeste contains a region with sequence similarity to trithorax.

Abstract

As is typical of Polycomb-group loci, the Enhancer of zeste [E(z)] gene negatively regulates the segment identity genes of the Antennapedia (ANT-C) and Bithorax (BX-C) gene complexes. A second class of loci, collectively known as the trithorax group, plays an antagonistic role as positive regulators of the ANT-C and BX-C genes. Molecular analysis of the E(z) gene predicts a 760-amino-acid protein product. A region of 116 amino acids near the E(z) carboxy terminus is 41.2% identical (68.4% similar) with a carboxy-terminal region of the trithorax protein. This portion of the trithorax protein is part of a larger region previously shown to share extensive homology with a human protein (ALL-1/Hrx) that is implicated in acute leukemias. Over this same 116 amino acids, E(z) and ALL-1/Hrx are 43.9% identical (68.4% similar). Otherwise, E(z) is not significantly similar to any previously described proteins. As this region of sequence similarity is shared by two proteins with antagonistic functions, we suggest that it may comprise a domain that interacts with a common target, either nucleic acid or protein. Opposite effects on transcription might then be determined by other portions of the two proteins.

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