The Development of Nervous System in Drosphila; a Structural Approach.

Structural Biology Group, KEK, PF* HHMI, University of oregon**
○Mohammad S Yousef* Brian Matthews**

We used X-ray crystallography to study the interaction between the Drosophila transcription factor “Prospero” and its non-canonical DNA target. Prospero is a cell fate determinant that is essential in directing the neuron stem cells toward differentiation.
Knowledge of the crystal structure of the complex (protein homeodomain/DNA) identifies key residues on the protein that are responsible for making specific contacts with the DNA. The structure also reconciles the two reportedly distinct DNA sequences that have been proposed as transcriptional target for Prospero. We proposed a mechanism by which Prospero controls the fate of developing neural cells in Drosophila. To confirm the proposed mechanism, we are working on the structural determination of longer segments of Prospero with and without the target DNA.


(Yousef et al, 2005)