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Gene Expr Patterns. 2009 Feb;9(2):65-72. doi: 10.1016/j.gep.2008.10.005. Epub 2008 Nov 24.

Conserved sequence block clustering and flanking inter-cluster flexibility delineate enhancers that regulate nerfin-1 expression during Drosophila CNS development.

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Neural Cell-Fate Determinants Section, NINDS, NIH, Bethesda, MD, USA.


We have identified clusters of conserved sequences constituting discrete modular enhancers within the Drosophilanerfin-1 locus. nerfin-1 encodes a Zn-finger transcription factor that directs pioneer interneuron axon guidance. nerfin-1 mRNA is detected in many early delaminating neuroblasts, ganglion mother cells and transiently in nascent neurons. The comparative genomics analysis program EvoPrinter revealed conserved sequence blocks both upstream and downstream of the transcribed region. By using the aligning regions of different drosophilids as the reference DNA, EvoPrinter detects sequence length flexibility between clusters of conserved sequences and thus facilitates differentiation between closely associated modular enhancers. Expression analysis of enhancer-reporter transgenes identified enhancers that drive expression in different regions of the developing embryonic and adult nervous system, including subsets of embryonic CNS neuroblasts, GMCs, neurons and PNS neurons. In summary, EvoPrinter facilitates the discovery and analysis of enhancers that control crucial aspects of nerfin-1 expression.

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