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Genes Dev. 1992 Nov;6(11):2137-51.

deadpan, an essential pan-neural gene in Drosophila, encodes a helix-loop-helix protein similar to the hairy gene product.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, San Francisco, California.


Neural precursor cells in Drosophila acquire their identity early during their formation. In an attempt to determine whether all neural precursors share a set of genetic machinery, perhaps to control properties of differentiation common to all neurons, we used the enhancer-trap method to identify several genes (pan-neural genes) that are expressed in all neurons and/or their precursors. One of the pan-neural genes is deadpan, which encodes a helix-loop-helix protein closely related to the product of the segmentation gene hairy. The function of deadpan is essential for viability and is likely to be involved in the functional rather than the morphological differentiation of neurons.

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