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Development. 1996 Jun;122(6):1859-71.

The Drosophila pipsqueak gene encodes a nuclear BTB-domain-containing protein required early in oogenesis.

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Department of Genetics, University of Washington, Seattle, 98195-7360, USA.


Mutations at the pipsqueak locus affect early patterning in the Drosophila egg and embryo. We have cloned pipsqueak and found that it is a large and complex gene, encoding multiple transcripts and protein isoforms. One protein, PsqA, is absent in all of the mutants that we have examined. We show that PsqA is a nuclear protein present in the germ cells and somatically derived follicle cells throughout oogenesis and that it is required prior to stage one of oogenesis. PsqA contains a BTB (POZ) domain at its amino terminus; additionally, we have identified an evolutionarily conserved motif of unknown function present four times in tandem at the C terminus of the protein. PZ pipsqueak mutants produce a putative fusion protein containing the pipsqueak BTB domain fused to sequences resident on the PZ element (H. Horowitz and C. Berg, 1995 Genetics 139, 327-335). We demonstrate here that expression of this fusion protein in wild-type flies has a dominant effect, resulting in infertility and eggshell defects. These dominant phenotypes are discussed in light of current theories on the role of the BTB domain in protein-protein interactions.

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