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Gene Review

dpn  -  deadpan

Drosophila melanogaster

Synonyms: 44C, CG8704, DPN, Dmel\CG8704, Dpn, ...
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High impact information on dpn


Biological context of dpn

  • Dpn also regulates sex-determination by repressing sxl, the primary gene involved in sex differentiation [4].
  • This is the first demonstration that Dpn is a partner and target of CK2, and raises the possibility that its repressor functions might also be regulated by phosphorylation [4].
  • By itself, dpn cannot account for the masculinizing effect of increased autosomal ploidy, the effect that gave rise to the concept of the X:A ratio; nevertheless, if there are other denominator elements, our results suggest that their individual contributions to the sex-determination signal are even less than that of dpn [5].
  • Mutation of the Dpn consensus binding site from the asymmetric sequence 5'-CACGCG-3' to the palindromic sequence 5'-CACGTG-3' abolishes asymmetric inhibition [6].
  • Loss of deadpan results in reduced cell proliferation, while ectopic deadpan expression causes over-proliferation [7].

Anatomical context of dpn

  • Consistent with these observations endogenous Deadpan is expressed in mitotic areas of the optic lobes, and endogenous Asense is expressed in cells that will become quiescent [7].

Associations of dpn with chemical compounds

  • A Dpn mutant containing the unnatural amino acid norleucine in place of lysine at position 80 in the bHLH loop region is not inhibited by the polyamide, suggesting that the epsilon amino group at this position is responsible for DNA contacts outside the major groove [6].
  • Circular dichroism spectroscopy was used to correlate structural changes in Dpn with physiologically relevant monovalent (KCl) and divalent (MgCl2) cation concentrations [8].

Enzymatic interactions of dpn

  • We demonstrate that Dpn is weakly phosphorylated by monomeric CK2alpha, whereas it is robustly phosphorylated by the embryo-holoenzyme, suggesting a positive role for CK2beta [4].

Other interactions of dpn

  • Deletion analysis of the dpn and scrt PNS-specific subelements reveals that PNS specificity of these two evolutionarily unrelated enhancers is achieved in part by repression of CNS expression [3].
  • Detailed genetic and molecular characterization is presented of this diverse set of new dpn alleles including their effects on Sxl [5].
  • Male-lethal effects were anticipated for mutations in a major denominator element, but we found that viability of males lacking dpn function was reduced no more than 50% relative to their dpn- sisters [5].
  • The Drosophila Groucho transcriptional corepressor protein has been shown to interact with the DNA-binding bHLH domain of Enhancer of split, Hairy and Deadpan proteins, which proteins are involved in neurogenesis, segmentation and sex-determination, respectively [9].

Analytical, diagnostic and therapeutic context of dpn

  • In addition, we have used electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) and fluorescence anisotropy methods to determine equilibrium dissociation constants for the interaction of Dpn with two biologically relevant promoters involved in neural development and sex determination pathways [8].


  1. Groucho is required for Drosophila neurogenesis, segmentation, and sex determination and interacts directly with hairy-related bHLH proteins. Paroush, Z., Finley, R.L., Kidd, T., Wainwright, S.M., Ingham, P.W., Brent, R., Ish-Horowicz, D. Cell (1994) [Pubmed]
  2. Tramtrack controls glial number and identity in the Drosophila embryonic CNS. Badenhorst, P. Development (2001) [Pubmed]
  3. Specificity of CNS and PNS regulatory subelements comprising pan-neural enhancers of the deadpan and scratch genes is achieved by repression. Emery, J.F., Bier, E. Development (1995) [Pubmed]
  4. Drosophila CK2 phosphorylates Deadpan, a member of the HES family of basic-helix-loop-helix (bHLH) repressors. Karandikar, U.C., Shaffer, J., Bishop, C.P., Bidwai, A.P. Mol. Cell. Biochem. (2005) [Pubmed]
  5. Genetic and molecular analysis of the autosomal component of the primary sex determination signal of Drosophila melanogaster. Barbash, D.A., Cline, T.W. Genetics (1995) [Pubmed]
  6. Asymmetric DNA binding by a homodimeric bHLH protein. Winston, R.L., Ehley, J.A., Baird, E.E., Dervan, P.B., Gottesfeld, J.M. Biochemistry (2000) [Pubmed]
  7. The pan-neural bHLH proteins DEADPAN and ASENSE regulate mitotic activity and cdk inhibitor dacapo expression in the Drosophila larval optic lobes. Wallace, K., Liu, T.H., Vaessin, H. Genesis (2000) [Pubmed]
  8. Characterization of the DNA binding properties of the bHLH domain of Deadpan to single and tandem sites. Winston, R.L., Millar, D.P., Gottesfeld, J.M., Kent, S.B. Biochemistry (1999) [Pubmed]
  9. Structure and function of the Groucho gene family and encoded transcriptional corepressor proteins from human, mouse, rat, Xenopus, Drosophila and nematode. Li, S.S. Proc. Natl. Sci. Counc. Repub. China B (2000) [Pubmed]
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