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Nucleic Acids Res. 2005 Mar 8;33(5):1435-44. Print 2005.

Regulated chromatin domain comprising cluster of co-expressed genes in Drosophila melanogaster.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Genetics of Cell, Institute of Molecular Genetics, Russian Academy of Sciences Moscow 123182, Russia.


Recently, the phenomenon of clustering of co-expressed genes on chromosomes was discovered in eukaryotes. To explore the hypothesis that genes within clusters occupy shared chromatin domains, we performed a detailed analysis of transcription pattern and chromatin structure of a cluster of co-expressed genes. We found that five non-homologous genes (Crtp, Yu, CK2betates, Pros28.1B and CG13581) are expressed exclusively in Drosophila melanogaster male germ-line and form a non-interrupted cluster in the 15 kb region of chromosome 2. The cluster is surrounded by genes with broader transcription patterns. Analysis of DNase I sensitivity revealed 'open' chromatin conformation in the cluster and adjacent regions in the male germ-line cells, where all studied genes are transcribed. In contrast, in somatic tissues where the cluster genes are silent, the domain of repressed chromatin encompassed four out of five cluster genes and an adjacent non-cluster gene CG13589 that is also silent in analyzed somatic tissues. The fifth cluster gene (CG13581) appears to be excluded from the chromatin domain occupied by the other four genes. Our results suggest that extensive clustering of co-expressed genes in eukaryotic genomes does in general reflect the domain organization of chromatin, although domain borders may not exactly correspond to the margins of gene clusters.

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