A complex array of activator and repressor elements located within 669 bp proximal to the fushi tarazu (ftz) transcriptional start site is sufficient to generate the 'zebra-stripe' expression pattern characteristic of the ftz gene. P-element-mediated transformation and ftz promoter/lacZ fusion genes were used to characterize, in detail, several of these transcriptional control elements. By reconstructing promoters with synthetic oligonucleotides containing cis-regulators of stripe expression, we show that these regulatory sites can function as independent units to direct position-specific transcription in the Drosophila embryo. In particular, we demonstrate that multiple copies of a positive regulatory site can mediate expression in both the odd- and even-numbered parasegments throughout most of the germ band and that negative regulatory sites can transform a continuous pattern of gene expression into discrete stripes. The reconstructed promoter system presented provides an effective means of studying molecular mechanisms governing spatially restricted transcription in the early embryo.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Developmental Biology