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Chromosoma. 2010 Apr;119(2):177-94. doi: 10.1007/s00412-009-0246-0. Epub 2009 Dec 23.

Chromatin insulators specifically associate with different levels of higher-order chromatin organization in Drosophila.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology, The University of Tennessee, M407 Walters Life Sciences, 1414 Cumberland Avenue, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA.


Chromatin insulators are required for proper temporal and spatial expression of genes in metazoans. Here, we have analyzed the distribution of insulator proteins on the 56F-58A region of chromosome 2R in Drosophila polytene chromosomes to assess the role of chromatin insulators in shaping genome architecture. Data show that the suppressor of Hairy-wing protein [Su(Hw)] is found in three structures differentially associated with insulator proteins: bands, interbands, and multi-gene domains of coexpressed genes. Results show that bands are generally formed by condensation of chromatin that belongs to genes containing one or more Su(Hw) binding sites, whereas, in interbands, Su(Hw) sites appear associated with open chromatin. In addition, clusters of coexpressed genes in this region form bands characterized by the lack of CP190 and BEAF-32 insulator proteins. This pattern correlates with the distribution of specific chromatin marks and is conserved in nurse cells, suggesting that this organization may not be limited to one cell type but represents the basic organization of interphasic chromosomes.

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