cotC requires the transcription factor CudA for its expression in the posterior, prespore cells of the slug, while the expL7 gene requires CudA for its expression in the anterior, tip-organiser region. In order to identify additional transcription factors that might mediate tip-organiser specific expression, we performed affinity chromatography on slug nuclear extracts. The affinity matrix bore cap-site distal sequences from region A' of the expL7 promoter; an essential region located upstream of the CudA binding domain. One of the proteins purified was G-box binding factor (GBF), a zinc finger transcription factor which binds to G-rich elements, known as G boxes, that are present in the promoters of many developmental genes, including cotC. Previous work identified an essential sequence motif within region A' and we show that this element is a G box, that binds recombinant GBF. Moreover, a G box from within the cotC promoter can substitute for region A' of expL7 in directing tip-organiser specific expression of expL7. Thus the same two transcription factors, CudA and GBF, seem to co-operate to direct both tip-organiser and prespore gene expression. How then is specificity achieved? Replacing a CudA binding region in the cotCpromoter with the CudA binding domain from expL7strongly represses cotCpromoter activity. Hence we suggest that differences in the topology of the multiple CudA half- sites contained within the two different CudA binding regions, coupled with differences in the signalling environment between tip-organiser cells and prespore cells, ensure correct expL7 expression.
- Transcription factor
- Camp-inducible gene