A genomic response to the yeast transcription factor GAL4 in Drosophila

Fly (Austin). Mar-Apr 2008;2(2):92-8. doi: 10.4161/fly.6311. Epub 2008 Mar 20.


The yeast transcription factor GAL4 is widely used in Drosophila genetics to misexpress genes that are under control of the yeast upstream activator sequence (UAS). Here we show that high levels of GAL4 change the expression of many Drosophila genes in a UAS-independent manner, including genes that encode components of important signaling pathways. We find that at least part of the genomic response to GAL4 appears to be caused by effects of GAL4 on stress and immune response pathways. Finally, using the transcription factor Senseless as an example, we demonstrate how an interaction between GAL4 and a GAL4-driven protein can impede the use of the GAL4/UAS system in experiments aimed at determining the transcriptional response to a misexpressed gene.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / pharmacology
  • Drosophila / drug effects
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Drosophila / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression / drug effects*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Genome, Insect / drug effects
  • Male
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / metabolism*
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins / pharmacology
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Transcription Factors / pharmacology


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • GAL4 protein, S cerevisiae
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • upstream activation factor, S cerevisiae