Senseless, a Zn finger transcription factor, is necessary and sufficient for sensory organ development in Drosophila

Cell. 2000 Aug 4;102(3):349-62. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(00)00040-4.


The senseless (sens) gene is required for proper development of most cell types of the embryonic and adult peripheral nervous system (PNS) of Drosophila. Sens is a nuclear protein with four Zn fingers that is expressed and required in the sensory organ precursors (SOP) for proper proneural gene expression. Ectopic expression of Sens in many ectodermal cells causes induction of PNS external sensory organ formation and is able to recreate an ectopic proneural field. Hence, sens is both necessary and sufficient for PNS development. Our data indicate that proneural genes activate sens expression. Sens is then in turn required to further activate and maintain proneural gene expression. This feedback mechanism is essential for selective enhancement and maintenance of proneural gene expression in the SOPs.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins*
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Lineage
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Drosophila / cytology
  • Drosophila / embryology*
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Embryonic Induction
  • Genes, Insect
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism*
  • Peripheral Nervous System / cytology
  • Peripheral Nervous System / embryology*
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Invertebrate / embryology
  • Receptors, Notch
  • Sense Organs / cytology
  • Sense Organs / embryology*
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Zinc Fingers*


  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • Caenorhabditis elegans Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Da protein, Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • N protein, Drosophila
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Pag-3 protein, C elegans
  • Receptors, Notch
  • Transcription Factors
  • sens protein, Drosophila

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF212312
  • GENBANK/AF212313