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

Expression, modification, and localization of the fushi tarazu protein in Drosophila embryos.

The fushi tarazu (ftz) protein of Drosophila is required during embryogenesis for the process of body segmentation. To study the biochemical properties of the ftz protein, ftz cDNA was expressed in Escherichia coli and the protein was purified to homogeneity. Polyclonal antibodies raised against the purified protein were used to localize and quantitate the protein during embryogenesis. Three temporally and spatially distinct phases of expression were observed, which include a previously undetected period later in embryogenesis. During this last phase, the protein is localized predominantly in the developing hindgut. Analysis of embryonic ftz protein on Western blots permitted us to approximate the number of protein molecules per nucleus. During the blastoderm phase of development, when ftz protein is most abundant, we estimate that there are approximately 20,000 molecules of protein per ftz-expressing nucleus. The embryonic ftz protein migrates more slowly on SDS-polyacrylamide gels than protein made either in E. coli or in a reticulocyte lysate system in vitro, indicating that it is modified in the embryo. To facilitate characterization of ftz protein made in embryos, an ftz overexpression system functional in Drosophila was developed. When fused to an hsp70 heat shock promoter and introduced into the germ line by P-element-mediated transformation, ftz could be overexpressed at all stages of development by heat shock. This protein is localized in the nucleus comigrates on SDS-polyacrylamide gels with endogenous ftz protein. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis followed by Western blotting resolves the overexpressed protein into a series of isoforms that differ in charge and electrophoretic mobility. Post-translational modification may influence the biochemical properties and functions of the ftz protein during embryogenesis.[1]


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