The Dorsal morphogen acts as both an activator and a repressor of transcription in the Drosophila embryo to regulate the expression of dorsal/ventral patterning genes. Circumstantial evidence has suggested that Dorsal is an intrinsic activator and that additional factors (corepressors) convert it into a repressor. These corepressors, however, have previously eluded definitive identification. We show here, via the analysis of embryos lacking the maternally encoded Groucho corepressor and via protein-binding assays, that recruitment of Groucho to the template by protein:protein interactions is required for the conversion of Dorsal from an activator to a repressor. Groucho is therefore a critical component of the dorsal/ventral patterning system.
- Pattern formation