Zeste maintains repression of Ubx transgenes: Support for a new model of Polycomb repression

Man Wook Hur, Jeffrey D. Laney, Sang Hack Jeon, Janann Ali, Mark D. Biggin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


During late embryogenesis, the expression domains of homeotic genes are maintained by two groups of ubiquitously expressed regulators: the Polycomb repressors and the Trithorax activators. It is not known how the activities of the two maintenance systems are initially targeted to the correct genes. Zeste and GAGA are sequence-specific DNA-binding proteins previously shown to be Trithorax group activators of the homeotic gene Ultrabithorax (Ubx). We demonstrate that Zeste and GAGA DNA-binding sites at the proximal promoter are also required to maintain, but not to initiate, repression of Ubx. Furthermore, the repression mediated by Zeste DNA-binding site is abolished in zeste null embryos. These data imply that Zeste and probably GAGA mediate Polycomb repression. We present a model in which the dual transcriptional activities of Zeste and GAGA are an essential component of the mechanism that chooses which maintenance system is to be targeted to a given promoter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1339-1343
Number of pages5
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Drosophila
  • GAGA
  • Homeotic
  • Polycomb group
  • Trithorax group
  • Zeste

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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