Expression of the D-MEF2 transcription factor in the Drosophila brain suggests a role in neuronal cell differentiation

Robert A. Schulz, Caroline Chromey, Mei Fang Lu, Bin Zhao, Eric N. Olson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


D-MEF2 is a MADS domain transcription factor expressed in the cardiac, somatic, and visceral muscle cell lineages in the Drosophila embryo. Genetic studies have demonstrated that D-mef2 gene function is required for the proper differentiation of all three of these muscle types. We show that D-MEF2 is also expressed in a limited number of other cell types during development, including Kenyon cells present in the mushroom bodies of the Drosophila brain. This finding suggests a role for D-mef2 in neuron differentiation. To investigate D-mef2 expression in muscle and Kenyon cells, we assayed 26 kb of D-mef2 5'-flanking and intragenic DNA for regulatory sequences controlling the expression of the gene. Our results show that separable enhancer sequences direct D-mef2 gene expression in the myogenic and neuronal cell lineages. The identification of these regulatory DNAs provides a starting point for the analysis of transcriptional regulators controlling the cell-specific expression of D-mef2 and a means to address the function of D-mef2 in Kenyon cell differentiation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1827-1831
Number of pages5
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1996


  • D-MEF2 transcription factor
  • Kenyon cells
  • Muscle
  • Mushroom bodies
  • Neuron differentiation
  • Transcriptional enhancers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Expression of the D-MEF2 transcription factor in the Drosophila brain suggests a role in neuronal cell differentiation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this