GSBS Student Publications


The mesoderm determinant snail collaborates with related zinc-finger proteins to control Drosophila neurogenesis

Student Author(s)

Shovon Imtiaz Ashraf

GSBS Program

Cell Biology

UMMS Affiliation

Program in Molecular Medicine; Department of Cell Biology; Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology



Document Type


Medical Subject Headings

Amino Acid Sequence; Animals; Animals, Genetically Modified; *Bacterial Proteins; Conserved Sequence; DNA-Binding Proteins; *Drosophila Proteins; Drosophila melanogaster; Embryo, Nonmammalian; Fushi Tarazu Transcription Factors; Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental; Homeodomain Proteins; Molecular Sequence Data; Nervous System; Neurons; Sequence Alignment; Sequence Deletion; Sequence Homology, Amino Acid; Transcription Factors; Zinc Fingers


Cell and Developmental Biology | Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences | Neuroscience and Neurobiology


The Snail protein functions as a transcriptional regulator to establish early mesodermal cell fate. Later, in germ band-extended embryos, Snail is also expressed in most neuroblasts. Here we present evidence that this expression of Snail is required for central nervous system (CNS) development. The neural function of snail is masked by two closely linked genes, escargot and worniu. Both Escargot and Worniu contain zinc-finger domains that are highly homologous to that of Snail. Although not affecting expression of early neuroblast markers, the deletion of the region containing all three genes correlates with loss of expression of CNS determinants including fushi tarazu, pdm-2 and even-skipped. Transgenic expression of each of the three Snail family proteins can rescue efficiently the fushi tarazu defects, and partially the pdm-2 and even-skipped CNS patterns. These results demonstrate that the Snail family proteins have essential functions during embryonic CNS development, around the time of ganglion mother cell formation.

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Citation: EMBO J. 1999 Nov 15;18(22):6426-38. Link to article on publisher's site

DOI of Published Version


Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

Journal Title

The EMBO journal

PubMed ID