To identify biologically functional regions in the product of the Drosophila melanogaster gene Kruppel, we cloned the Kruppel homolog from Drosophila virilis. Both the previously identified amino (N)-terminal repression region and the DNA-binding region of the D. virilis Kruppel protein are greater than 96% identical to those of the D. melanogaster Kruppel protein, demonstrating a selective pressure to maintain the integrity of each region during 60 million to 80 million years of evolution. An additional region in the carboxyl (C) terminus of Kruppel that was most highly conserved was examined further. A 42-amino-acid stretch within the conserved C-terminal region also encoded a transferable repression domain. The short, C-terminal repression region is a composite of three subregions of distinct amino acid composition, each containing a high proportion of either basic, proline, or acidic residues. Mutagenesis experiments demonstrated, unexpectedly, that the acidic residues contribute to repression function. Both the N-terminal and C-terminal repression regions were tested for the ability to affect transcription mediated by a variety of activator proteins. The N-terminal repression region was able to inhibit transcription in the presence of multiple activators. However, the C-terminal repression region inhibited transcription by only a subset of the activator proteins. The different activator specificities of the two regions suggest that they repress transcription by different mechanisms and may play distinct biological roles during Drosophila development.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology