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Genetics. 1990 Aug;125(4):821-32.

Molecular and cytogenetic analysis of the heterochromatin-euchromatin junction region of the Drosophila melanogaster X chromosome using cloned DNA sequences.

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  • 1Research School of Biological Sciences, Australian National University, Canberra City.


We have used three cloned DNA sequences consisting of (1) part of the suppressor of forked transcription unit, (2) a cloned 359-bp satellite, and (3), a type I ribosomal insertion, to examine the structure of the base of the X chromosome of Drosophila melanogaster where different chromatin types are found in juxtaposition. A DNA probe from the suppressor of forked locus hybridizes exclusively to the very proximal polytenized part of division 20, which forms part of the beta-heterochromatin of the chromocenter. The cloned 359-bp satellite sequence, which derives from the proximal mitotic heterochromatin between the centromere and the ribosomal genes, hybridizes to the under replicated alpha-heterochromatin of the chromocenter. The type I insertion sequence, which has major locations in the ribosomal genes and in the distal mitotic heterochromatin of the X chromosome, hybridizes as expected to the nucleolus but does not hybridize to the beta-heterochromatic division 20 of the polytene X chromosome. Our molecular data reveal that the suppressor of forked locus, which on cytogenetic grounds is the most proximal ordinary gene on the X chromosome, is very close to the junction of the polytenized and non-polytenized region of the X chromosome. The data have implications for the structure of beta-heterochromatin-alpha-heterochromatin junction zones in both mitotic and polytene chromosomes, and are discussed with reference to models of chromosome structure.

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