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Genome wide identification of fruitless targets suggests a role in upregulating genes important for neural circuit formation

Vernes, S. C. (2014). Genome wide identification of fruitless targets suggests a role in upregulating genes important for neural circuit formation. Scientific Reports, 4: 4412. doi:10.1038/srep04412.
The fruitless gene (fru) encodes a set of transcription factors (Fru) that display sexually dimorphic gene expression in the brain of the fruit-fly;Drosophila melanogaster . Behavioural studies have demonstrated that fru isessentialforcourtshipbehaviour inthemale flyandisthoughttoact bydirectingthe development of sex-specific neural circuitry that encodes this innate behavioural response. This study reports the identification of direct regulatory targets of the sexually dimorphic isoforms of the Fru protein using an in vitro model system. Genome wide binding sites were identified for each of the isoforms using Chromatin Immunoprecipitation coupled to deep sequencing (ChIP-Seq). Putative target genes were found to be involved in processes such as neurotransmission, ion-channel signalling and neuron development. All isoforms showed asignificant bias towards genes located on the X-chromosome,which may reflect a specific role for Fru in regulating x-linked genes. Taken together with expression analysis carried out in Fru positive neurons specifically isolated from the male fly brain, it appears that the Fru protein acts as a transcriptional activator. Understanding the regulatory cascades induced by Fru will help to shed light on the molecular mechanisms that are important for specification of neural circuitry underlying complex behaviour
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