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Genes Dev. 2005 Oct 1;19(19):2284-8.

The Drosophila MSL complex activates the transcription of target genes.

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  • 1Adolf Butenandt-Institute, Molecular Biology Unit, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, 80336 Munich, Germany.


The mechanism through which gene expression originating from the single male or the two female X chromosomes in Drosophila is adjusted to autosomal gene expression has remained controversial. According to the prevalent model, transcription of the male X is increased twofold by the male-specific-lethal (MSL) complex. However, a significant body of data supports an alternative model, whereby compensation involves a global repression of autosomal gene expression in males by sequestration and neutralization of an activator onto the X chromosome. In order to rigorously discriminate between these models we identified direct target genes for the MSL complex and quantified transcription in absolute terms after knockdown of MSL2. The results unequivocally document an approximate twofold activation of target genes by the MSL complex.

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