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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Two distinct domains of Bicoid mediate its transcriptional downregulation by the Torso pathway.

The transcriptional activity of the Bicoid morphogen is directly downregulated by the Torso signal transduction cascade at the anterior pole of the Drosophila embryo. This regulation does not involve the homeodomain or direct phosphorylation of Bicoid. We analyse the transcriptional regulation of Bicoid in response to the Torso pathway, using Bicoid variants and fusion proteins between the Bicoid domains and the Gal4 DNA-binding domain. We show that Bicoid possesses three autonomous activation domains. Two of these domains, the serine/threonine-rich and the acidic domains, are downregulated by Torso, whereas the third activation domain, which is rich in glutamine, is not. The alanine-rich domain, previously described as an activation domain in vitro, has a repressive activity that is independent of Torso. Thus, Bicoid downregulation by Torso results from a competition between the glutamine-rich domain that is insensitive to Torso and the serine/threonine-rich and acidic activation domains downregulated by Torso. The alanine-rich domain contributes to this process indirectly by reducing the global activity of the protein and in particular the activity of the glutamine-rich domain that might otherwise prevent downregulation by Torso.[1]


  1. Two distinct domains of Bicoid mediate its transcriptional downregulation by the Torso pathway. Janody, F., Sturny, R., Schaeffer, V., Azou, Y., Dostatni, N. Development (2001) [Pubmed]
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