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Differential regulation of mesodermal gene expression by Drosophila cell type-specific forkhead transcription factors

Monday, October 24, 2011 — Poster Session I

Noon – 2:00 p.m.

Natcher Conference Center




  • X Zhu
  • SM Ahmad
  • A Aboukhalil
  • BW Busser
  • TR Tansey
  • A Haimovich
  • N Jeffries
  • ML Bulyk
  • AM Michelson


A common theme in developmental biology is the repeated utilization of the same gene in diverse spatial and temporal domains, a process which generally involves transcriptional regulation mediated through multiple distinct enhancers, each with its own arrangement of transcription factor (TF) binding sites and associated activities. We show that the tissue-specific expression of the Drosophila gene Nidogen (Ndg) in distinct mesodermal derivatives is governed by the binding of different cell-specific Forkhead (Fkh) TFs—Biniou, which activates Ndg expression in the visceral mesoderm, Checkpoint suppressor homologue, which represses Ndg expression in subsets of the somatic myoblasts and heart, and Jumeau, which also represses Ndg in specific cardiac cells—to three evolutionarily conserved Fkh binding sites in the same enhancer. The sequence of one of these conserved sites matches the canonical Fkh binding motif, while those of the other two represent a less common motif. Our results (i) illustrate the utilization of just one enhancer by different tissue-specific members of the same TF family to regulate expression in different spatial domains and (ii) demonstrate a correlation between different binding motifs of the same TF family and the differential expression response of a gene.

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