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Oncogene. 1999 Nov 22;18(49):6875-87.

Control of development and immunity by rel transcription factors in Drosophila.

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Department of Biology, City College and The Graduate Center of The City University of New York, 138th Street and Convent Avenue, New York, NY 10031, USA.


The Drosophila Rel/NF-kappaB transcription factors - Dorsal, Dif, and Relish - control several biological processes, including embryonic pattern formation, muscle development, immunity, and hematopoiesis. Molecular-genetic analysis of 12 mutations that cause embryonic dorsal/ventral patterning defects has defined the steps that control the formation of this axis. Regulated activation of the Toll receptor leads to the establishment of a gradient of nuclear Dorsal protein, which in turn governs the subdivision of the axis and specification of ventral, lateral and dorsal fates. Phenotypic analysis of dorsal-ventral embryonic mutants and the characterization of the two other fly Rel proteins, Dif and Relish, have shown that the intracellular portion of the Toll to Cactus pathway also controls the innate immune response in Drosophila. Innate immunity and hematopoiesis are regulated by analogous Rel/NF-kappaB-family pathways in mammals. The elucidation of the complex regulation and diverse functions of Drosophila Rel proteins underscores the relevance of basic studies in Drosophila.

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