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Philos Trans R Soc Lond B Biol Sci. 1996 Apr 29;351(1339):579-87.

Gene regulation in the Drosophila embryo.

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Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California, Berkeley 94720, USA.


Pattern formation in Drosophila depends on hierarchical interactions between the maternal and zygotic gene activities which subdivide the embryo into increasingly smaller metameric units along the anterior posterior axis. Here we describe those genes that encode the transcription factors which control precisely the expression of subordinate transcription factors in time and space. This regulation operates through the protein-protein interactions between transcription factors bound to the cis-acting enhancers, which eventually determine the frequency of transcription initiation by polymerase II. Our data show that taking into account the multiple transcriptional activators and repressors that bind to a typical enhancer element, it is likely that the regulation of gene expression in a given cell is defined by their concentration-dependent interplay which directs target gene expression in a position-dependent fashion.

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