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Mol Cell Biol. 1992 Sep;12(9):4093-103.

Drosophila transcriptional repressor protein that binds specifically to negative control elements in fat body enhancers.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138.


Expression of the Drosophila melanogaster Adh gene in adults requires a fat body-specific enhancer called the Adh adult enhancer (AAE). We have identified a protein in Drosophila nuclear extracts that binds specifically to a site within the AAE (adult enhancer factor 1 [AEF-1]). In addition, we have shown that AEF-1 binds specifically to two other Drosophila fat body enhancers. Base substitutions in the AEF-1 binding site that disrupt AEF-1 binding in vitro result in a significant increase in the level of Adh expression in vivo. Thus, the AEF-1 binding site is a negative regulatory element within the AAE. A cDNA encoding the AEF-1 protein was isolated and shown to act as a repressor of the AAE in cotransfection studies. The AEF-1 protein contains four zinc fingers and an alanine-rich sequence. The latter motif is found in other eukaryotic proteins known to be transcriptional repressors.

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