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Cell. 1989 Aug 11;58(3):433-40.

A purified Drosophila homeodomain protein represses transcription in vitro.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Biochemistry, University of California, Berkeley 94720.


even-skipped (eve) is a homeodomain-encoding gene that is a genetically defined repressor of Ultrabithorax (Ubx), fushi-tarazu (ftz), and wingless (wg). Here we report that purified eve protein represses transcription in vitro at the Ubx promoter, in a DNA binding site-dependent manner. eve protein represses transcription when bound either upstream or downstream of the RNA start site or when DNA binding sites are in either orientation. We also show that eve represses expression from the Ubx promoter in Drosophila tissue culture cells, again in a binding site-dependent manner. Deletion of eve DNA binding sites does not alter transcription in the absence of eve, and so repression is not likely to be the result of eve competitively inhibiting an activator protein from binding to the same DNA element. Instead, we propose that eve protein is probably interfering with the function of proteins bound at other locations in the promoter. The biochemical demonstration that a Drosophila homeodomain protein can directly regulate RNA synthesis strengthens the view that this class of regulators act as transcription factors to control development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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