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Mech Dev. 1999 Feb;80(2):171-80.

The Enhancer of split complex of Drosophila melanogaster harbors three classes of Notch responsive genes.

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Universität Hohenheim, Institut für Genetik (240), 70593, Stuttgart, Germany.


Many cell fate decisions in higher animals are based on intercellular communication governed by the Notch signaling pathway. Developmental signals received by the Notch receptor cause Suppressor of Hairless (Su(H)) mediated transcription of target genes. In Drosophila, the majority of Notch target genes known so far is located in the Enhancer of split complex (E(spl)-C), encoding small basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) proteins that presumably act as transcriptional repressors. Here we show that the E(spl)-C contains three additional Notch responsive, non-bHLH genes: m4 and ma are structurally related, whilst m2 encodes a novel protein. All three genes depend on Su(H) for initiation and/or maintenance of transcription. The two other non-bHLH genes within the locus, m1 and m6, are unrelated to the Notch pathway: m1 might code for a protease inhibitor of the Kazal family, and m6 for a novel peptide.

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