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Genes Dev. 2003 Oct 1;17(19):2406-20.

Inheritance of Polycomb-dependent chromosomal interactions in Drosophila.

Author information

  • 1Institute of Human Genetics, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, 34396 Montpellier 5, France.

Abstract

Maintenance of cell identity is a complex task that involves multiple layers of regulation, acting at all levels of chromatin packaging, from nucleosomes to folding of chromosomal domains in the cell nucleus. Polycomb-group (PcG) and trithorax-group (trxG) proteins maintain memory of chromatin states through binding at cis-regulatory elements named PcG response elements or cellular memory modules. Fab-7 is a well-defined cellular memory module involved in regulation of the homeotic gene Abdominal-B (Abd-B). In addition to its action in cis, we show here by three-dimensional FISH that the Fab-7 element leads to association of transgenes with each other or with the endogenous Fab-7, even when inserted in different chromosomes. These long-distance interactions enhance PcG-mediated silencing. They depend on PcG proteins, on DNA sequence homology, and on developmental progression. Once long-distance pairing is abolished by removal of the endogenous Fab-7, the derepressed chromatin state induced at the transgene locus can be transmitted through meiosis into a large fraction of the progeny, even after reintroduction of the endogenous Fab-7. Strikingly, meiotic inheritance of the derepressed state involves loss of pairing between endogenous and transgenic Fab-7. This suggests that transmission of nuclear architecture through cell division might contribute to inheritance of chromatin states in eukaryotes.

PMID:
14522946
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC218078
Free PMC Article

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