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Gene. 1991 Sep 15;105(2):185-95.

The complex genetic locus polyhomeotic in Drosophila melanogaster potentially encodes two homologous zinc-finger proteins.

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Centre de Génétique Moléculaire du CNRS, Gif s/Yvette, France.


Differential expression of the homeotic gene complexes, ANT-C and BX-C, of Drosophila melanogaster is partly controlled by trans-regulating factors located outside the two complexes. The complex genetic locus, polyhomeotic (ph), is one of these trans regulators required during development for correct expression of the homeotic selector genes. The ph locus comprises two genetically independent units whose functions are largely redundant. There are two duplicated sequences arranged as a tandem repeat in the ph region, defining two molecular ph units. Sequence analysis of the 28.6 kb of DNA comprising the locus shows varying degrees of sequence conservation between these two molecular units. Long open reading frames with a high degree of conservation have been localized in each tandem repeat. Putative protein products encoded by both the proximal and the distal unit contain several identical or practically identical protein domains: a zinc-finger-forming motif, an alpha-helix motif, a domain rich in serine and threonine residues and stretches of glutamine residues. The presence of these protein domains supports the hypothesis that ph encodes a transcription factor that may function as part of a protein complex. Possible molecular mechanisms leading to the particular structure of the locus are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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