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EMBO J. 1991 Mar;10(3):665-74.

Repression of the Drosophila fushi tarazu (ftz) segmentation gene.

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Laboratory of Biochemistry, National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892.


The striped expression of the Drosophila segmentation gene fushi tarazu in alternate parasegments of the early embryo is controlled by the 740 bp zebra element. Among multiple protein factors that bind to the zebra element, FTZ-F2 behaves as a transcriptional repressor of ftz. Point mutations in the zebra element which disrupt FTZ-F2 binding to DNA cause ectopic expression of zebra-lacZ activity in transformed embryos. The mutant constructs are expressed from the zygotic genome in preblastoderm embryos as early as the third nuclear division cycle. This unprecedented early transcription suggests that ftz requires active repression during initial nuclear division cycles, a novel type of embryonic gene regulation. A putative FTZ-F2 cDNA clone isolated by recognition site screening of an expression library was found to be identical in sequence with the zinc finger protein tramtrack (Harrison and Travers, 1990).

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