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Nature. 1997 May 8;387(6629):191-5.

Segmental regulation of Hoxb-3 by kreisler.

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Division of Developmental Neurobiology, MRC National Institute for Medical Research, London, UK.


Hox genes control regional identity during segmentation of the vertebrate hindbrain into rhombomeres. Here we use transgenic analysis to investigate the upstream mechanisms for regulation of Hoxb-3 in rhombomere(r)5. We identified enhancers from the mouse and chick genes sufficient for r5-restricted expression. Sequence comparisons revealed two blocks of similarity (of 19 and 45 base pairs), which each contain in vitro binding sites for the kreisler protein (Kmrl1), a Maf/b-Zip protein expressed in r5 and r6 (ref. 4). Both sites are required for r5 activity, suggesting that Hoxb-3 is a direct target of kreisler. Multimers of the 19-base-pair (bp) block recreate a Krml1-like pattern in r5/r6, but the 45-bp block mediates expression only in r5. Therefore elements within the 45-bp block restrict the response to Krml1. We identified additional sequences that contain an Ets-related activation site, required for both the activation and restriction to r5. These studies demonstrate that Krml1 directly activates expression of Hoxb-3 in r5 in combination with an Ets-related activation site, and suggest that kreisler plays a primary role in regulating segmental identity through Hox genes.

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