The Drosophila extramacrochaetae locus, an antagonist of proneural genes that, like these genes, encodes a helix-loop-helix protein

Cell. 1990 Apr 6;61(1):39-48. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(90)90213-x.


The Drosophila extramacrochaetae (emc) locus participates in sensory organ patterning by antagonizing, in a mechanistically unknown way, the neurogenic activity of the achaete-scute complex (AS-C). Our cloning of emc DNA and molecular mapping of emc mutations have identified a transcription unit as the most likely candidate for the emc function. It encodes a protein that has a dimerizing helix-loop-helix (HLH) motif but lacks a basic region presumably important for DNA binding. AS-C and other proneural proteins have both domains. We propose that the emc product antagonizes neurogenesis by sequestering proneural proteins in complexes inefficient for DNA interaction. These and other findings suggest the existence of a network of synergistic and antagonistic interactions, mediated by HLH proteins, that participates in the establishment of the neural fate.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Drosophila / growth & development
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Genes*
  • Information Systems
  • Larva
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • RNA / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins*
  • Restriction Mapping
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Software


  • Basic Helix-Loop-Helix Transcription Factors
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins
  • emc protein, Drosophila
  • RNA
  • DNA

Associated data

  • GENBANK/M31900
  • GENBANK/M31901
  • GENBANK/M31902
  • GENBANK/M35363
  • GENBANK/M35364