Structure and evolution of a pair-rule interaction element: runt regulatory sequences in D. melanogaster and D. virilis

Mech Dev. 1999 Jan;80(1):87-99. doi: 10.1016/s0925-4773(98)00196-8.


Pair-rule genes serve two important functions during Drosophila development: they first initiate periodic patterns, and subsequently interact with each other to refine these patterns to the precision required for definition of segmental compartments. Previously, we described a pair-rule input region of the runt gene. Here we further characterize this region through the use of reporter gene constructs and by comparison with corresponding sequences from Drosophila virilis. We find that many but not all regulatory properties of this '7-stripe region' are functionally conserved. Moreover, the similarity between these homologous sequences is surprisingly low. When compared to similar data for gap gene input element, our data suggest that pair-rule target sequences are less constrained during evolution, and that functional elements mediating pair-rule interactions can be dispersed over many kilobases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • Body Patterning*
  • Conserved Sequence
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Drosophila / embryology*
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / embryology*
  • Genes, Reporter
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Insect Proteins / metabolism
  • Models, Genetic
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Regulatory Sequences, Nucleic Acid*
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors


  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Insect Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transcription Factors
  • bcd protein, Drosophila
  • hairy protein, Drosophila
  • run protein, Drosophila
  • hairy protein, insect