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Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2013 Aug 1;5(8):a017780. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a017780.

Position-effect variegation, heterochromatin formation, and gene silencing in Drosophila.

Author information

1
Department of Biology, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri 63130, USA. selgin@biology.wustl.edu

Abstract

Position-effect variegation (PEV) results when a gene normally in euchromatin is juxtaposed with heterochromatin by rearrangement or transposition. When heterochromatin packaging spreads across the heterochromatin/euchromatin border, it causes transcriptional silencing in a stochastic pattern. PEV is intensely studied in Drosophila using the white gene. Screens for dominant mutations that suppress or enhance white variegation have identified many conserved epigenetic factors, including the histone H3 lysine 9 methyltransferase SU(VAR)3-9. Heterochromatin protein HP1a binds H3K9me2/3 and interacts with SU(VAR)3-9, creating a core memory system. Genetic, molecular, and biochemical analysis of PEV in Drosophila has contributed many key findings concerning establishment and maintenance of heterochromatin with concomitant gene silencing.

PMID:
23906716
PMCID:
PMC3721279
DOI:
10.1101/cshperspect.a017780
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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