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Genetics. 2006 Dec;174(4):1867-80. Epub 2006 Oct 22.

Enhancer-promoter communication at the yellow gene of Drosophila melanogaster: diverse promoters participate in and regulate trans interactions.

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Department of Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


The many reports of trans interactions between homologous as well as nonhomologous loci in a wide variety of organisms argue that such interactions play an important role in gene regulation. The yellow locus of Drosophila is especially useful for investigating the mechanisms of trans interactions due to its ability to support transvection and the relative ease with which it can be altered by targeted gene replacement. In this study, we exploit these aspects of yellow to further our understanding of cis as well as trans forms of enhancer-promoter communication. Through the analysis of yellow alleles whose promoters have been replaced with wild-type or altered promoters from other genes, we show that mutation of single core promoter elements of two of the three heterologous promoters tested can influence whether yellow enhancers act in cis or in trans. This finding parallels observations of the yellow promoter, suggesting that the manner in which trans interactions are controlled by core promoter elements describes a general mechanism. We further demonstrate that heterologous promoters themselves can be activated in trans as well as participate in pairing-mediated insulator bypass. These results highlight the potential of diverse promoters to partake in many forms of trans interactions.

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