Molecular and genetic data predict that the Enhancer of split locus functions at the end of a pathway dictating appropriate cell fate determination in a number of developmental contexts. We have sought to dissect the role individual member genes of the complex play through a molecular analysis. Of the two principle class of genes, the first, members of the basic helix-loop-helix (bHLH) class of proteins are expressed in specific regions of the embryo in subtle, overlapping patterns in cells that will differentiate as epidermis. The second, groucho, a member of the WD40 class of proteins, is expressed more generally. Immunoprecipitation experiments do not implicate groucho in G protein mediated signal transduction, a known function of many WD40 type proteins. Instead, the nuclear localisation of the protein suggests a relationship to the bHLH members of the complex. Differences in expression of the bHLH genes between neurogenic mutants implies two pathways to their activation during epidermal determination.

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