A gene in Drosophila melanogaster that maps cytologically to 2C1 -3 on the distal portion of the X-chromosome encodes a member of the steroid/thyroid hormone receptor superfamily. The gene was isolated from an embryonic cDNA library using an oligonucleotide probe that specifies the consensus amino acid sequence in the DNA-binding domain of several human receptors. The conceptual amino acid sequence of 2C reveals at least four regions of homology that are shared with all identified vertebrate receptors. Region I includes the two cysteine-cysteine zinc fingers that comprise a DNA-binding domain which typifies all members of the superfamily. In addition, three regions (Regions II-IV) in the carboxy-terminal portion of the protein that encode the putative hormone-binding domain of the 2C gene product resemble similar sequences in vertebrate steroid/thyroid hormone receptors. The similarity suggests that this Drosophila receptor possesses many of the regulatory functions attributed to these regions in vertebrate counterparts. A portion of Region II also resembles part of the human c-jun oncoprotein's leucine zipper, which in turn, has been demonstrated to be the heterodimerization site between the yun and fos oncoproteins. The 2C receptor-like protein most resembles the mouse H2RII binding protein, a member of the superfamily which has been implicated in the regulation of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I gene expression. These two gene products are 83% identical in the DNA-binding domain and 50% identical in the putative hormone-binding domain, although no ligand has been identified for either protein. The high degree of similarity in the hormone-binding domain between the 2C protein and the H2RII binding protein outside regions II-IV suggests specific functional roles which are not shared by other members of the superfamily.
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