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EMBO Rep. 2007 Sep;8(9):858-63. Epub 2007 Aug 3.

Paf1 complex homologues are required for Notch-regulated transcription during somite segmentation.

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Okazaki Institute for Integrative Biosciences, National Institutes of Natural Sciences, Okazaki, Aichi 444-8787, Japan.


Members of the yeast polymerase-associated factor 1 (Paf1) complex, which is composed of at least five components (Paf1, Rtf1, Cdc73, Leo1 and Ctr9), are conserved from yeast to humans. Although these proteins have been implicated in RNA polymerase II-mediated transcription, their roles in vertebrate development have not been explained. Here, we show that a zebrafish mutant with a somite segmentation defect is deficient in rtf1. In addition, embryos deficient in rtf1 or ctr9 show abnormal development of the heart, ears and neural crest cells. rtf1 is required for correct RNA levels of the Notch-regulated genes her1, her7 and deltaC, and also for Notch-induced her1 expression in the presomitic mesoderm. Furthermore, the phenotype observed in rtf1-deficient mutants is enhanced by an additional deficiency in mind bomb, which encodes an effector of Notch signalling. Therefore, zebrafish homologues of the yeast Paf1 complex seem to preferentially affect a subset of genes, including Notch-regulated genes, during embryogenesis.

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