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Gene Review

zfh1  -  Zn finger homeodomain 1

Drosophila melanogaster

Synonyms: CG1322, Dmel\CG1322, ZFH-1, ZFH1, Zfh-1, ...
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High impact information on zfh1

  • The Spotted-dick Zinc-finger protein is present in the nuclei of cells committed to proliferation but necessary in cells undertaking S phase [1].
  • One such zinc finger/homeodomain protein is Drosophila Zfh-1, a member of the zfh family of Drosophila genes, which is expressed in muscle precursors and is critical for the proper development of muscle [2].
  • ZEB, a vertebrate homolog of Zfh-1, binds a subset of E boxes and blocks myogenesis through transcriptional repression of muscle genes [3].
  • Binding sites for zfh-1 overlap with those for snail, and like snail, it recruits the corepressor CtBP-1 [4].
  • The protein ZEB-1 appears to be a vertebrate homologue of zfh-1 and is expressed in several tissues including muscle, CNS, and T lymphocytes, and during skeletal differentiation [4].

Biological context of zfh1

  • Specification of the ISN subclass is dependent upon both even-skipped (eve) and the zfh1 zinc-finger homeobox gene [5].
  • Here, we demonstrate that zfh-1 is a transcription factor that binds E box sequences and acts as an active transcriptional repressor [6].
  • ZEB inhibits muscle differentiation in mammalian systems, and its Drosophila orthologue, zfh-1, inhibits somatic and cardiac muscle differentiation during Drosophila embryogenesis [7].
  • When zfh-1 expression was maintained in the embryo beyond its normal temporal pattern of downregulation, the differentiation of somatic but not visceral muscle was blocked [6].
  • The Drosophila homeobox genes zfh-1 and even-skipped are required for cardiac-specific differentiation of a numb-dependent lineage decision [8].

Anatomical context of zfh1

  • In zfh1 mutants, ventral projecting motor axons often stall at the edge of the CNS, failing to enter the muscle field, despite having normal motor neuron identity [9].
  • Zfh1 is detected in all embryonic somatic motor neurons, glia associated with the CNS surface and motor axons, and one identified interneuron [9].
  • The zfh-1 gene is expressed in the mesoderm of early embryos and in a number of mesodermally-derived structures of late embryos, including the dorsal vessel, support cells of the gonads, and segment-specific arrays of adult muscle precursors [10].
  • Its homologue in Drosophila (zfh-1) is also essential for differentiation of somatic and cardiac muscle [11].
  • zfh-1 is a zinc finger/homeodomain transcriptional repressor in Drosophila that regulates differentiation of muscle and gonadal cells and is also expressed in the central nervous system (CNS) [4].

Associations of zfh1 with chemical compounds

  • NAC1 is a member of the Bric-a-brac Tramtrac Broad complex/Pox virus and Zinc finger family of transcription factors and has been shown by overexpression studies to prevent the development of behavioral sensitization resulting from repeated cocaine treatment [12].

Regulatory relationships of zfh1


Other interactions of zfh1

  • The Drosophila zfh-1 and zfh-2 genes encode novel proteins containing both zinc-finger and homeodomain motifs [15].
  • I further show that likely EH1 motifs are found in combination with T-Box, Zinc Finger and Doublesex domains as well as discussing other plausible candidate associations [16].
  • This round of dpp expression is also restricted to LE cells but Dpp signaling specifies the repression of the transcription factor Zfh-1 in a subset of pericardial cells in the underlying mesoderm [13].
  • Here we describe the role of zfh-1 in germ cell migration to the gonadal mesoderm [14].
  • Similar to tinman, the zinc finger- and homeobox-containing gene, zfh-1, is expressed in the early mesoderm and later in the forming heart, suggesting a possible role in heart development [8].

Analytical, diagnostic and therapeutic context of zfh1

  • However, we have shown previously that another member of the family, the vertebrate ZEB protein, is a transcriptional repressor that binds E box sequences and inhibits myotube formation in cell culture assays. zfh-1 is downregulated in Drosophila embryos prior to myogenesis [6].


  1. Spotted-dick, a zinc-finger protein of Drosophila required for expression of Orc4 and S phase. Page, A.R., Kovacs, A., Deak, P., Torok, T., Kiss, I., Dario, P., Bastos, C., Batista, P., Gomes, R., Ohkura, H., Russell, S., Glover, D.M. EMBO J. (2005) [Pubmed]
  2. ZEB, a vertebrate homolog of Drosophila Zfh-1, is a negative regulator of muscle differentiation. Postigo, A.A., Dean, D.C. EMBO J. (1997) [Pubmed]
  3. c-Myb and Ets proteins synergize to overcome transcriptional repression by ZEB. Postigo, A.A., Sheppard, A.M., Mucenski, M.L., Dean, D.C. EMBO J. (1997) [Pubmed]
  4. Differential expression and function of members of the zfh-1 family of zinc finger/homeodomain repressors. Postigo, A.A., Dean, D.C. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2000) [Pubmed]
  5. Specification of Drosophila aCC motoneuron identity by a genetic cascade involving even-skipped, grain and zfh1. Garces, A., Thor, S. Development (2006) [Pubmed]
  6. zfh-1, the Drosophila homologue of ZEB, is a transcriptional repressor that regulates somatic myogenesis. Postigo, A.A., Ward, E., Skeath, J.B., Dean, D.C. Mol. Cell. Biol. (1999) [Pubmed]
  7. Independent repressor domains in ZEB regulate muscle and T-cell differentiation. Postigo, A.A., Dean, D.C. Mol. Cell. Biol. (1999) [Pubmed]
  8. The Drosophila homeobox genes zfh-1 and even-skipped are required for cardiac-specific differentiation of a numb-dependent lineage decision. Su, M.T., Fujioka, M., Goto, T., Bodmer, R. Development (1999) [Pubmed]
  9. Zfh1, a somatic motor neuron transcription factor, regulates axon exit from the CNS. Layden, M.J., Odden, J.P., Schmid, A., Garces, A., Thor, S., Doe, C.Q. Dev. Biol. (2006) [Pubmed]
  10. The embryonic expression patterns of zfh-1 and zfh-2, two Drosophila genes encoding novel zinc-finger homeodomain proteins. Lai, Z.C., Fortini, M.E., Rubin, G.M. Mech. Dev. (1991) [Pubmed]
  11. ZEB represses transcription through interaction with the corepressor CtBP. Postigo, A.A., Dean, D.C. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (1999) [Pubmed]
  12. The mouse nac1 gene, encoding a cocaine-regulated Bric-a-brac Tramtrac Broad complex/Pox virus and Zinc finger protein, is regulated by AP1. Mackler, S.A., Homan, Y.X., Korutla, L., Conti, A.C., Blendy, J.A. Neuroscience (2003) [Pubmed]
  13. Embryonic enhancers in the dpp disk region regulate a second round of Dpp signaling from the dorsal ectoderm to the mesoderm that represses Zfh-1 expression in a subset of pericardial cells. Johnson, A.N., Bergman, C.M., Kreitman, M., Newfeld, S.J. Dev. Biol. (2003) [Pubmed]
  14. zfh-1 is required for germ cell migration and gonadal mesoderm development in Drosophila. Broihier, H.T., Moore, L.A., Van Doren, M., Newman, S., Lehmann, R. Development (1998) [Pubmed]
  15. The Drosophila zfh-1 and zfh-2 genes encode novel proteins containing both zinc-finger and homeodomain motifs. Fortini, M.E., Lai, Z.C., Rubin, G.M. Mech. Dev. (1991) [Pubmed]
  16. The EH1 motif in metazoan transcription factors. Copley, R.R. BMC Genomics (2005) [Pubmed]
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