Chromatin insulator elements block the silencing of a target gene by the Drosophila polycomb response element (PRE) but allow trans interactions between PREs on different chromosomes

Christian J.A. Sigrist, Vincenzo Pirrotta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

156 Scopus citations

Abstract

Polycomb response elements (PREs) can establish a silenced state that affects the expression of genes over considerable distances. We have tested the ability of insulator or boundary elements to block the repression of the miniwhite gene by the Ubx PRE. The gypsy element and the scs element interposed between PIlE and miniwhite gene protect it against silencing but the scs' is only weakly effective. When the PRE-miniwhite gene construct is insulated from flanking chromosomal sequences by gypsy elements at both ends, it can still establish efficient silencing in some lines but not others. We show that this can be caused by interactions in trans with PREs at other sites. PRE-containing transposons inserted at different sites or even on different chromosomes can interact, resulting in enhanced silencing. These trans interactions are not blocked by the gypsy insulator and reveal the importance of nonhomologous associations between different regions of the genome for both silencing and activation of genes. The similarity between the behavior of PREs and enhancers suggests a model for their long-distance action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)209-221
Number of pages13
JournalGenetics
Volume147
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 1997
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics

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