Hes7: a bHLH-type repressor gene regulated by Notch and expressed in the presomitic mesoderm

Genes Cells. 2001 Feb;6(2):175-85. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2443.2001.00409.x.


Background: Whereas Notch signalling is essential for somitogenesis, mice deficient for the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) genes Hes1 and Hes5, downstream Notch effectors, display normal somite formation, indicating that there may be an as-yet unidentified Hes1-related bHLH gene.

Results: We identified a novel bHLH gene, designated Hes7, from mouse embryos. Hes7 has a conserved bHLH domain in the amino-terminal region and the WRPW domain at the carboxy-terminal end, like Hes1. The mouse Hes7 gene is located next to Aloxe3, which is mapped to a position 37.0 cM from the centromere on chromosome 11. In a transfection analysis, Hes7 represses transcription from the N box- and E box-containing promoters. In addition, Hes7 suppresses the E47-induced transcriptional activation. Promoter analysis indicated that Hes7 expression is controlled by Notch signalling. Strikingly, Hes7 is specifically expressed in the presomitic mesoderm in a dynamic manner. We also identified two related bHLH genes from human: one is closely related to mouse Hes7 and therefore designated hHes7 and the other designated hHes4.

Conclusion: The structure, transcriptional activity and expression pattern in the presomitic mesoderm of Hes7 are very similar to those of Hes1, suggesting that Hes7, together with Hes1, may play a role in somite formation under the control of Notch signalling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • Blotting, Northern
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Exons
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology*
  • Genes, Suppressor*
  • Introns
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Membrane Proteins / physiology*
  • Mesoderm / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Receptors, Notch
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Signal Transduction
  • Transcription Factors / chemistry
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • DNA, Complementary
  • HES7 protein, human
  • Hes7 protein, mouse
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Receptors, Notch
  • Transcription Factors