Rel transcription factors function in flies and vertebrates in immunity and development. Although Rel proteins regulate diverse processes, the control of their function is conserved. In a two-hybrid screen for additional components of the pathway using the Drosophila I-kappaB protein Cactus as a bait, we isolated a novel coiled-coil protein with N-terminal Arg-Asp (RD)- like motifs that we call Cactin. Like the other components of this pathway, Cactin is evolutionarily conserved. Over-expression of cactin in a cactus(A2) heterozygous background results in the enhancement of the cactus phenotype. Both the embryonic lethality and ventralization are strongly increased, suggesting that cactin functions in the Rel pathway controlling the formation of dorsal-ventral embryonic polarity.
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