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Cell. 1990 Nov 30;63(5):1085-97.

Molecular cloning and expression of a hexameric Drosophila heat shock factor subject to negative regulation.

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


We report the cloning of the transcriptional activator of heat shock genes, HSF, from Drosophila. The predicted sequence of Drosophila HSF protein is surprisingly divergent from that of yeast HSF, except in regions important for DNA binding and oligomerization. A segment of the DNA binding domain of HSF bears an intriguing similarity to the putative DNA recognition helix of bacterial sigma factors, while the oligomerization domain contains an unusual arrangement of conserved hydrophobic heptad repeats. Drosophila HSF produced in E. coli under nonshock conditions forms a hexamer that binds specifically to DNA with high affinity and activates transcription from a heat shock promoter in vitro. In contrast, when HSF is expressed in Xenopus oocytes, maximal DNA binding affinity is observed only after heat shock induction. These results suggest that Drosophila HSF has an intrinsic affinity for DNA, which is repressed under nonshock conditions in vivo.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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