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Zelzer, E., Wappner, P., Shilo, B.Z. (1997). The PAS domain confers target gene specificity of Drosophila bHLH/PAS proteins.  Genes Dev. 11(16): 2079--2089.
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Research paper

Trachealess (Trh) and Single-minded (Sim) are highly similar Drosophila bHLH/PAS transcription factors. They activate nonoverlapping target genes and induce diverse cell fates. A single Drosophila gene encoding a bHLH/PAS protein homologous to the vertebrate ARNT protein was isolated and may serve as a partner for both Trh and Sim. We show that Trh and Sim complexes recognize similar DNA-binding sites in the embryo. To examine the basis for their distinct target gene specificity, the activity of Trh-Sim chimeric proteins was monitored in embryos. Replacement of the Trh PAS domain by the analogous region of Sim was sufficient to convert it into a functional Sim protein. The PAS domain thus mediates all the features conferring specificity and the distinct recognition of target genes. The normal expression pattern of additional proteins essential for the activity of the Trh or Sim complexes can be inferred from the induction pattern of target genes and binding-site reporters, triggered by ubiquitous expression of Trh or Sim. We postulate that the capacity of bHLH/PAS heterodimers to associate, through the PAS domain, with additional distinct proteins that bind target-gene DNA, is essential to confer specificity.

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PMC316449 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
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