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Cell. 1991 Sep 6;66(5):935-47.

The maleless protein associates with the X chromosome to regulate dosage compensation in Drosophila.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, California 94305.


The maleless (mle) gene is one of four known regulatory loci required for increased transcription (dosage compensation) of X-linked genes in D. melanogaster males. A predicted mle protein (MLE) contains seven short segments that define a superfamily of known and putative RNA and DNA helicases. MLE, while present in the nuclei of both male and female cells, differs in its association with polytene X chromosomes in the two sexes. MLE is associated with hundreds of discrete sites along the length of the X chromosome in males and not in females. The predominant localization of MLE to the X chromosome in males makes it a strong candidate to be a direct regulator of dosage compensation.

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