Fushi tarazu and engrailed are two of the genes required for proper segmentation of the Drosophila embryo. Their protein products Fushi tarazu and Engrailed (Ftz and En) each contain a homeodomain and have been shown to act as transcriptional regulators in transient expression experiments in a Drosophila cell culture system. We used an in vitro transcription system to test whether the effects of Ftz and En on transcription were direct or indirect. Purified Ftz directly activates in vitro transcription by binding to homeodomain binding sites inserted upstream of the TATA box of the Drosophila hsp70 promoter. Equimolar amounts of purified En repress this activation by competition with Ftz for binding to these sites. These results indicate that Ftz and En act directly as transcription factors and suggest that such homeodomain proteins regulate development by combinatorial transcriptional control.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)