Mitosis-associated repression in development

Genes Dev. 2016 Jul 1;30(13):1503-8. doi: 10.1101/gad.281188.116.


Transcriptional repression is a pervasive feature of animal development. Here, we employ live-imaging methods to visualize the Snail repressor, which establishes the boundary between the presumptive mesoderm and neurogenic ectoderm of early Drosophila embryos. Snail target enhancers were attached to an MS2 reporter gene, permitting detection of nascent transcripts in living embryos. The transgenes exhibit initially broad patterns of transcription but are refined by repression in the mesoderm following mitosis. These observations reveal a correlation between mitotic silencing and Snail repression. We propose that mitosis and other inherent discontinuities in transcription boost the activities of sequence-specific repressors, such as Snail.

Keywords: Drosophila embryo; live imaging; mitosis; repression; transcription.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism
  • Drosophila melanogaster / embryology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian
  • Enhancer Elements, Genetic / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Mitosis / genetics
  • Mitosis / physiology*
  • Snail Family Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Snail Family Transcription Factors / metabolism*
  • Transgenes / genetics


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Snail Family Transcription Factors
  • sna protein, Drosophila
  • sog protein, Drosophila