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Chromosoma. 1999 May;108(2):83-94.

The nuclear distribution of Polycomb during Drosophila melanogaster development shown with a GFP fusion protein.

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ZMBH, University of Heidelberg, Germany.


The chromatin protein Polycomb (PC) is necessary for keeping homeotic genes repressed in a permanent and heritable manner. PC is part of a large multimeric complex (PcG proteins) involved in generating silenced chromatin domains at target genes, thus preventing their inappropriate expression. In order to assess the intranuclear distribution of PC during mitosis in different developmental stages as well as in the germ line we generated transgenic fly lines expressing a PC-GFP (Green Fluorescent Protein) fusion protein. Rapidly dividing nuclei were found to display a rather homogeneous PC-GFP distribution. However, with increasing differentiation a pronounced subnuclear pattern was observed. In all investigated diploid somatic tissues the bulk of PC-GFP fusion protein is depleted from the chromosomes during mitosis: however, a detectable fraction remains associated. In the male germ line in early spermatogenesis, PC-GFP was closely associated with the chromosomal bivalents and gradually lost at later stages. Interestingly, we found that PC is associated with the nucleolus in spermatocytes, unlike somatic nuclei. In contrast to mature sperm showing no PC-GFP signal the female germ line retains PC in the germinal vesicle.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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