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EMBO J. 1996 Dec 16;15(24):7088-98.

In vivo interactions of the Drosophila Hairy and Runt transcriptional repressors with target promoters.

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Imperial Cancer Research Fund, London, UK.


The Hairy and Runt pair-rule proteins regulate Drosophila segmentation by repressing transcription. To explore the ability of these proteins to function as promoter-bound regulators in vivo, we examined the effects of Hairy and Runt derivatives containing heterologous transcriptional activation domains (HairyAct and RunAct). Using this approach, we find that Hairy and Runt efficiently target such activation domains to specific segmentation gene promoters, leading to rapid induction of transcription. Our results strongly suggest that Hairy normally acts as a promoter-bound repressor of fushi tarazu, runt and odd-skipped, and that Runt directly represses even-skipped. We also show that expressing HairyAct in early blastoderm embryos causes ectopic Sex-lethal expression and male-specific lethality, implying that the Hairy-related denominator element Deadpan represses Sex-lethal during sex determination by directly recognizing the early Sex-lethal promoter.

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