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Genes Cells. 2001 Feb;6(2):175-85.

Hes7: a bHLH-type repressor gene regulated by Notch and expressed in the presomitic mesoderm.

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Institute for Virus Research, Kyoto University, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8507, Japan.



Whereas Notch signalling is essential for somitogenesis, mice deficient for the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) genes Hes1 and Hes5, downstream Notch effectors, display normal somite formation, indicating that there may be an as-yet unidentified Hes1-related bHLH gene.


We identified a novel bHLH gene, designated Hes7, from mouse embryos. Hes7 has a conserved bHLH domain in the amino-terminal region and the WRPW domain at the carboxy-terminal end, like Hes1. The mouse Hes7 gene is located next to Aloxe3, which is mapped to a position 37.0 cM from the centromere on chromosome 11. In a transfection analysis, Hes7 represses transcription from the N box- and E box-containing promoters. In addition, Hes7 suppresses the E47-induced transcriptional activation. Promoter analysis indicated that Hes7 expression is controlled by Notch signalling. Strikingly, Hes7 is specifically expressed in the presomitic mesoderm in a dynamic manner. We also identified two related bHLH genes from human: one is closely related to mouse Hes7 and therefore designated hHes7 and the other designated hHes4.


The structure, transcriptional activity and expression pattern in the presomitic mesoderm of Hes7 are very similar to those of Hes1, suggesting that Hes7, together with Hes1, may play a role in somite formation under the control of Notch signalling.

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