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Cell. 2011 Jan 21;144(2):214-26. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2010.12.026.

Polycomb-dependent regulatory contacts between distant Hox loci in Drosophila.

Author information

1
Institut de Génétique Humaine, CNRS UPR 1142, Montpellier, France. frederic.bantignies@igh.cnrs.fr

Abstract

In Drosophila melanogaster, Hox genes are organized in an anterior and a posterior cluster, called Antennapedia complex and bithorax complex, located on the same chromosome arm and separated by 10 Mb of DNA. Both clusters are repressed by Polycomb group (PcG) proteins. Here, we show that genes of the two Hox complexes can interact within nuclear PcG bodies in tissues where they are corepressed. This colocalization increases during development and depends on PcG proteins. Hox gene contacts are conserved in the distantly related Drosophila virilis species and they are part of a large gene interaction network that includes other PcG target genes. Importantly, mutations on one of the loci weaken silencing of genes in the other locus, resulting in the exacerbation of homeotic phenotypes in sensitized genetic backgrounds. Thus, the three-dimensional organization of Polycomb target genes in the cell nucleus stabilizes the maintenance of epigenetic gene silencing.

PMID:
21241892
DOI:
10.1016/j.cell.2010.12.026
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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