Expression of the D-MEF2 transcription in the Drosophila brain suggests a role in neuronal cell differentiation

Oncogene. 1996 Apr 18;12(8):1827-31.


D-MEF2 is a MADS domain transcription factor expressed in the cardiac, somatic, and visceral muscle cell lineages in the Drosophila embryo. Genetic studies have demonstrated that D-mef2 gene function is required for the proper differentiation of all three of these muscle types. We show that D-MEF2 is also expressed in a limited number of other cells types during development, including Kenyon cells present in the mushroom bodies of the Drosophila brain. This finding suggests a role for D-mef2 in neuron differentiation. To investigate D-mef2 expression in muscle and Kenyon cells, we assayed 26 kb of D-mef2 5'-flanking and intragenic DNA for regulatory sequences controlling the expression of the gene. Our results show that separable enhancer sequences direct D-mef2 gene expression in the myogenic and neuronal cell lineages. The identification of these regulatory DNAs provides a starting point for the analysis of transcriptional regulators controlling the cell-specific expression of D-mef2 and a means to address the function of D-mef2 in Kenyon cell differentiation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified / genetics
  • Brain / embryology
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Nucleus / physiology
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Drosophila / embryology
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Enhancer Elements, Genetic
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Larva / genetics
  • MEF2 Transcription Factors
  • Muscles / cytology
  • Muscles / embryology
  • Mutation
  • Myogenic Regulatory Factors
  • Recombinant Proteins / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • beta-Galactosidase / genetics


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • MEF2 Transcription Factors
  • Mef2 protein, Drosophila
  • Myogenic Regulatory Factors
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • beta-Galactosidase