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Nat Genet. 1997 Oct;17(2):211-4.

Drosophila CBP is required for dorsal-dependent twist gene expression.

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Laboratory of Molecular Genetics, Tsukuba Life Science Center, RIKEN, Ibaraki, Japan.


Although CREB-binding protein (CBP) functions as a co-activator of many transcription factors, relatively little is known about the physiological role of CBP. Mutations in the human CBP gene are associated with Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome, a haplo-insufficiency disorder characterized by abnormal pattern formation. Recently, we isolated a Drosophila CBP (dCBP) mutant, and found dCBP to be maternally expressed, suggesting that it plays a role in early embryogenesis. Mesoderm formation is one of the most important events during early embryogenesis. To initiate the differentiation of the mesoderm in Drosophila, multiple zygotic genes such as twist (twi) and snail (sna), which encode a basic-helix-loop-helix and a zinc finger transcription factor, respectively, are required. The transcription of these genes is induced by maternal dorsal (dl) protein (Dl; refs 8-10), a transcription factor that is homologous to the NF-kappa B family of proteins. The activity of dl is negatively regulated by cactus (cact), a Drosophila homologue of I kappa B. Here, we show that dCBP mutants fail to express twi and generate twisted embryos. This is explained by results showing that dCBP is necessary for dl-mediated activation of the twi promoter.

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