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Mol Cell. 2004 Jan 16;13(1):19-32.

Immunity regulatory DNAs share common organizational features in Drosophila.

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Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Division of Genetics and Development, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA.


Infection results in the rapid activation of immunity genes in the Drosophila fat body. Two classes of transcription factors have been implicated in this process: the REL-containing proteins, Dorsal, Dif, and Relish, and the GATA factor Serpent. Here we present evidence that REL-GATA synergy plays a pervasive role in the immune response. SELEX assays identified consensus binding sites that permitted the characterization of several immunity regulatory DNAs. The distribution of REL and GATA sites within these DNAs suggests that most or all fat-specific immunity genes contain a common organization of regulatory elements: closely linked REL and GATA binding sites positioned in the same orientation and located near the transcription start site. Aspects of this "regulatory code" are essential for the immune response. These results suggest that immunity regulatory DNAs contain constrained organizational features, which may be a general property of eukaryotic enhancers.

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