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Gene Review

sens  -  senseless

Drosophila melanogaster

Synonyms: 1228/04, CG10714, CG32120, Dmel\CG32120, Gfi1, ...
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High impact information on sens

  • The senseless (sens) gene is required for proper development of most cell types of the embryonic and adult peripheral nervous system (PNS) of Drosophila [1].
  • Sens is then in turn required to further activate and maintain proneural gene expression [1].
  • Moreover, miR-9a suppresses Sens expression through its 3' untranslated region. miR-9a is expressed in epithelial cells, including those adjacent to SOPs within proneural clusters, suggesting that miR-9a normally inhibits neuronal fate in non-SOP cells by down-regulating Sens expression [2].
  • Here, we present evidence that Senseless (Sens), a zinc-finger transcription factor, plays an important role in this process [3].
  • senseless repression of rough is required for R8 photoreceptor differentiation in the developing Drosophila eye [4].

Biological context of sens

  • In addition, our data suggest that sage RNAi embryos have a phenotype similar to sens and that sage is necessary to maintain expression of sens in the embryonic salivary glands [5].
  • We explain how one organ, salivary glands, of Drosophila embryos avoids apoptosis. senseless (sens), a Zn-finger transcription factor, is expressed in the salivary primordium and later in the differentiated salivary glands [5].
  • By contrast, proneural enhancement became constitutive in the absence of Su(H), and this led to premature differentiation and upregulation of the Atonal and Senseless proteins [6].
  • Here, we show that Senseless binds bHLH proneural proteins via its core zinc fingers and is recruited by proneural proteins to their target enhancers to function as a co-activator [7].
  • Some point mutations in the Senseless zinc-finger region abolish its DNA-binding ability but partially spare the ability of Senseless to synergize with proneural proteins and to induce sensory organ formation in vivo [7].

Anatomical context of sens

  • Furthermore, we show that in the salivary glands, sens acts as an anti-apoptotic protein by repressing reaper and possibly hid [5].
  • However, analysis of senseless loss-of-function clones in the thorax implicates Senseless not in the primary SO precursor (pI) selection, but in the specification of pI progeny [8].
  • In the Drosophila retina, sens is necessary and sufficient for differentiation of R8 photoreceptors and interommatidial bristles (IOBs) [9].
  • An analogous relationship exists between Senseless and Egfr pathway orthologs in T-lymphocytes, suggesting that this mode of repression of Egfr signaling is conserved [10].

Regulatory relationships of sens

  • Thus, Senseless promotes normal R8 differentiation by preventing the effects of autocrine stimulation by Spitz [10].

Other interactions of sens

  • We have shown that sens expression is initiated in the salivary placodes by fork head (fkh), a winged helix transcription factor [5].
  • We provide evidence that Senseless and Daughterless physically interact and synergize in vivo and in transcription assays [8].
  • This phenomenon seems instead to be related to their shared ability to activate Asense and Senseless [11].
  • Specifically, Senseless does not affect cytoplasmic transduction of Egfr activation, but does block nuclear transduction of Egfr activation through transcriptional repression of pointed, which encodes the nuclear effector of the pathway [10].
  • Lyra mutants display aberrant expression of DELTA, VESTIGIAL, WINGLESS, and CUT [12].


  1. Senseless, a Zn finger transcription factor, is necessary and sufficient for sensory organ development in Drosophila. Nolo, R., Abbott, L.A., Bellen, H.J. Cell (2000) [Pubmed]
  2. MicroRNA-9a ensures the precise specification of sensory organ precursors in Drosophila. Li, Y., Wang, F., Lee, J.A., Gao, F.B. Genes Dev. (2006) [Pubmed]
  3. Senseless acts as a binary switch during sensory organ precursor selection. Jafar-Nejad, H., Acar, M., Nolo, R., Lacin, H., Pan, H., Parkhurst, S.M., Bellen, H.J. Genes Dev. (2003) [Pubmed]
  4. senseless repression of rough is required for R8 photoreceptor differentiation in the developing Drosophila eye. Frankfort, B.J., Nolo, R., Zhang, Z., Bellen, H., Mardon, G. Neuron (2001) [Pubmed]
  5. senseless is necessary for the survival of embryonic salivary glands in Drosophila. Chandrasekaran, V., Beckendorf, S.K. Development (2003) [Pubmed]
  6. Proneural enhancement by Notch overcomes Suppressor-of-Hairless repressor function in the developing Drosophila eye. Li, Y., Baker, N.E. Curr. Biol. (2001) [Pubmed]
  7. Senseless physically interacts with proneural proteins and functions as a transcriptional co-activator. Acar, M., Jafar-Nejad, H., Giagtzoglou, N., Yallampalli, S., David, G., He, Y., Delidakis, C., Bellen, H.J. Development (2006) [Pubmed]
  8. Senseless and Daughterless confer neuronal identity to epithelial cells in the Drosophila wing margin. Jafar-Nejad, H., Tien, A.C., Acar, M., Bellen, H.J. Development (2006) [Pubmed]
  9. A Genetic Screen in Drosophila for Genes Interacting With senseless During Neuronal Development Identifies the Importin moleskin. Pepple, K.L., Anderson, A.E., Frankfort, B.J., Mardon, G. Genetics (2007) [Pubmed]
  10. Senseless represses nuclear transduction of Egfr pathway activation. Frankfort, B.J., Mardon, G. Development (2004) [Pubmed]
  11. Drosophila tufted is a gain-of-function allele of the proneural gene amos. Lai, E.C. Genetics (2003) [Pubmed]
  12. Drosophila Lyra mutations are gain-of-function mutations of senseless. Nolo, R., Abbott, L.A., Bellen, H.J. Genetics (2001) [Pubmed]
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