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Nucleic Acids Res. 1997 Oct 15;25(20):3963-8.

Dynamics of potentiation and activation: GAGA factor and its role in heat shock gene regulation.

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Section of Genetics and Development, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 12853, USA.


GAGA factor (GAF) binds to specific DNA sequences and participates in a complex spectrum of chromosomal activities. Products of the Trithorax-like locus (Trl), which encodes multiple GAF isoforms, are required for homeotic gene expression and are essential for Drosophila development. While homozygous null mutations in Trl are lethal, heterozygotes display enhanced position effect variegation (PEV) indicative of the broad role of GAF in chromatin architecture and its positive role in gene expression.The distribution of GAF on chromosomes is complex, as it is associated with hundreds of chromosomal loci in euchromatin of salivary gland polytene chromosomes, however, it also displays a strong association with pericentric heterochromatin in diploid cells, where it appears to have roles in chromosome condensation and segregation. At higher resolution GAF binding sites have been identified in the regulatory regions of many genes. In some cases, the positive role of GAF in gene expression has been examined in detail using a variety of genetic, biochemical, and cytological approaches. Here we review what is currently known of GAF and, in the context of the heat shock genes of Drosophila, we examine the effects of GAF on multiple steps in gene expression.

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