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EMBO Rep. 2008 Jan;9(1):76-83. Epub 2007 Nov 23.

Differential in vivo requirements for oligomerization during Groucho-mediated repression.

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Developmental Genetics Laboratory, Cancer Research UK, London Research Institute, 44 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, UK.


The Groucho (Gro)/transducin-like enhancer of split family of transcriptional corepressors are implicated in many signalling pathways that are important in development and disease, including those mediated by Notch, Wnt and Hedgehog. Here, we describe a genetic screen in Drosophila that yielded 50 new gro alleles, including the first protein-null allele, and has two mutations in the conserved Q oligomerization domain that have been proposed to have an essential role in corepressor activity. One of these latter mutations, encoding an amino-terminal protein truncation that lacks part of the Q domain, abolishes oligomerization in vitro and renders the protein unstable in vivo. Nevertheless, the mutation is not a null: maternal mutant embryos have intermediate segmentation phenotypes and relatively normal terminal patterning suggesting that the mutant protein retains partial corepressor activity. Our results show that homo-oligomerization of Gro is not obligatory for its action in vivo, and that Gro represses transcription through more than one molecular mechanism.

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