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Mol Cell. 2001 Jan;7(1):127-36.

Drosophila chromosome condensation proteins Topoisomerase II and Barren colocalize with Polycomb and maintain Fab-7 PRE silencing.

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DIBIT, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Via Olgettina 58, 20132 Milano, Italy.


Mechanisms of cellular memory control the maintenance of cellular identity at the level of chromatin structure. We have investigated whether the converse is true; namely, if functions responsible for maintenance of chromosome structure play a role in epigenetic control of gene expression. We show that Topoisomerase II (TOPOII) and Barren (BARR) interact in vivo with Polycomb group (PcG) target sequences in the bithorax complex of Drosophila, including Polycomb response elements. In addition, we find that the PcG protein Polyhomeotic (PH) interacts physically with TOPOII and BARR and that BARR is required for Fab-7-regulated homeotic gene expression. Conversely, we find defects in chromosome segregation associated with ph mutations. We propose that chromatin condensation proteins are involved in mechanisms acting in interphase that regulate chromosome domain topology and are essential for the maintenance of gene expression.

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