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  Abstracts: Isolation and characterization of two human genes similar to the region-specific homeotic Drosophila gene SPALT which show expression in the developing and adult human brain  
  September 06, 1995



J. Kohlhase, R. Schuh, H. Jäckle, B. Schroeder, W. Schulz-Schaeffer, H.A. Kretzschmar, A. Köhler, U. Müller, E. Burkhard, M. Raab-Vetter, W. Engel and R. Stick
Max-Planck-lnstitut für biophysikalische Chemie, Abt. Molekulare Entwicklungsbiologie, Am Faßberg, Göttingen, Germany  

2nd Workshop Neurogenetics in Germany, Munich, October 19-21, 1995

The region-specific homeotic gene spalt (sal) of D. melanogaster specifies head and tail as opposed to trunk segments. Later in development, sal is required in a small number of different organs of the developing embryo, suggesting that sal functions in several specific cellular pathways during fly development. Sal encodes a zinc finger protein of unusual but characteristic structure. In order to identify sal-like genes from other organisms we made use of the unique features of sal zinc fingers as compared to other zinc finger proteins by applying a PCR-based strategy to isolate such genes from humans. Here we report the isolation and molecular characterization of two different human sal-like transcription units. Their transcripts are expressed in a limited number of adult organs such as testis, heart, kidney and brain. The presence of 3 and 4, respectively, distinct zinc finger regions in both proteins, their high degree of sequence similarity to Drosophila sal and the fact that they are, like sal in Drosophila, expressed in neural tissue, suggests conservation of not only molecular but also functional features of sal in neural development.

spalt (sal)

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