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Mol Genet Genomics. 2007 Nov;278(5):507-18. Epub 2007 Jul 6.

The bromodomain protein LEX-1 acts with TAM-1 to modulate gene expression in C. elegans.

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Department of Molecular Genetics, Ohio State University, 938 Biological Sciences Building, 484 West 12th Avenue, Columbus, OH 43210, USA.


In many organisms, repetitive DNA serves as a trigger for gene silencing. However, some gene expression is observed from repetitive genomic regions such as heterochromatin, suggesting mechanisms exist to modulate the silencing effects. From a genetic screen in C. elegans, we have identified mutations in two genes important for expression of repetitive sequences: lex-1 and tam-1. Here we show that lex-1 encodes a protein containing an ATPase domain and a bromodomain. LEX-1 is similar to the yeast Yta7 protein, which maintains boundaries between silenced and active chromatin. tam-1 has previously been shown to encode a RING finger/B-box protein that modulates gene expression from repetitive DNA. We find that lex-1, like tam-1, acts as a class B synthetic multivulva (synMuv) gene. However, since lex-1 and tam-1 mutants have normal P granule localization, it suggests they act through a mechanism distinct from other class B synMuvs. We observe intragenic (interallelic) complementation with lex-1 and a genetic interaction between lex-1 and tam-1, data consistent with the idea that the gene products function in the same biological process, perhaps as part of a protein complex. We propose that LEX-1 and TAM-1 function together to influence chromatin structure and to promote expression from repetitive sequences.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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