A sequence-specific DNA-binding protein that activates fushi tarazu segmentation gene expression

H. Ueda, S. Sonoda, J. L. Brown, M. P. Scott, C. Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

147 Citations (Scopus)


The Drosophila segmentation gene fushi tarazu (ftz) is expressed at the cellular blastoderm stage in a pattern of seven transverse stripes; the stripes lie out of register with the segmental primordia, spanning alternate segmental boundaries. The zebra element, a 740-bp DNA sequence upstream of the ftz translational start, directs striped expression of lacZ when introduced into the fly genome. We have purified to homogeneity a sequence-specific DNA-binding factor, FTZ-F1, that binds to two sites located within the zebra element and to two sites within the ftz protein-coding sequence. FTZ-F1 DNA-binding activity is first detected in extracts of 1.5- to 4-hr embryos, coincident with the time of ftz expression in stripes; the activity then diminishes before reappearing during late embryo, larval, and adult stages. When one of the FTZ-F1 binding sequences in the zebra element is mutated by 2- or 4-base substitutions, the binding to FTZ-F1 is disrupted in vitro, and the intensity of lacZ expression is reduced in transformed embryos, especially in stripes 1, 2, 3, and 6. The results suggest that FTZ-F1 is a transcriptional activator necessary for the proper expression of the ftz gene.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)624-635
Number of pages12
JournalGenes and Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • FTZ-F1
  • ftz gene
  • fushi tarazu

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology


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