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Development. 2011 Sep;138(18):4097-106. doi: 10.1242/dev.062836.

Insulators form gene loops by interacting with promoters in Drosophila.

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Department of the Control of Genetic Processes, Institute of Gene Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences, 34/5 Vavilov St, Moscow, 119334 Russia.


Chromatin insulators are regulatory elements involved in the modulation of enhancer-promoter communication. The 1A2 and Wari insulators are located immediately downstream of the Drosophila yellow and white genes, respectively. Using an assay based on the yeast GAL4 activator, we have found that both insulators are able to interact with their target promoters in transgenic lines, forming gene loops. The existence of an insulator-promoter loop is confirmed by the fact that insulator proteins could be detected on the promoter only in the presence of an insulator in the transgene. The upstream promoter regions, which are required for long-distance stimulation by enhancers, are not essential for promoter-insulator interactions. Both insulators support basal activity of the yellow and white promoters in eyes. Thus, the ability of insulators to interact with promoters might play an important role in the regulation of basal gene transcription.

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