Groucho augments the repression of multiple even skipped target genes in establishing parasegment boundaries

M. Kobayashi, R. E. Goldstein, M. Fujioka, Z. Paroush*, J. B. Jaynes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Groucho acts as a co-repressor for several Drosophila DNA binding transcriptional repressors. Several of these proteins have been found to contain both Groucho-dependent and - independent repression domains, but the extent to which this distinction has functional consequences for the regulation of different target genes is not known. The product of the pair-rule gene even skipped has previously been shown to contain a Groucho-independent repression activity. In the Even skipped protein, outside the Groucho-independent repression domain, we have identified a conserved C-terminal motif (LFKPY), similar to motifs that mediate Groucho interaction in Hairy, Runt and Hückebein. Even skipped interacts with Groucho in yeast and in vitro, and groucho and even skipped genetically interact in vivo. Even skipped with a mutated Groucho interaction motif, which abolished binding to Groucho, showed a significantly reduced ability to rescue the even skipped null phenotype when driven by the complete even skipped regulatory region. Replacing this motif with a heterologous Groucho interaction motif restored the rescuing function of Even skipped in segmentation. Further functional assays demonstrated that the Even skipped C terminus acts as a Groucho-dependent repression domain in early Drosophila embryos. This novel repression domain was active on two target genes that are normally repressed by Even skipped at different concentrations, paired and sloppy paired. When the Groucho interaction motif is mutated, repression of each target gene is reduced to a similar extent, with some activity remaining. Thus, the ability of Even skipped to repress different target genes at different concentrations does not appear to involve differential recruitment or function of Groucho. The accumulation of multiple domains of similar function within a single protein may be a common evolutionary mechanism that fine-tunes the level of activity for different regulatory functions.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1805-1815
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Embryology and Experimental Morphology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2001


  • Co-repressor
  • Drosophila
  • Embryogenesis
  • Repressor
  • Segmentation


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