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Chromosoma. 1985;92(4):243-53.

Giant readthrough transcription units at the histone loci on lampbrush chromosomes of the newt Notophthalmus.


We have studied transcription at the histone loci in oocytes of the newt Notophthalmus viridescens, using in situ hybridization of cloned probes to the nascent RNA on lampbrush chromosome loops. Clusters of the five histone coding sequences are separated by long tracts of a simple sequence DNA, satellite 1. We had previously demonstrated coordinate transcription of histone genes and satellite 1 sequences. We postulated that satellite sequences were transcribed by readthrough from histone gene promoters; that is, transcription initiated at any of the five usual promoters, but did not terminate at the 3' end of the gene. Instead transcription proceeded through downstream sequences in the histone cluster (including spacers and downstream histone genes), and then through the satellite 1 region. Our model led to several specific predictions, in particular that some internal spacer regions between the genes should be well represented in the RNA on loops, that certain sequences should be absent from the loops, and that presence or absence of particular sequences should be correlated with morphological polarity of the transcription unit. We have hybridized ten strand-specific probes to the lamp-brush chromosomes and we find that the patterns of hybridization agree with the readthrough model of transcription.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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