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Chromosoma. 1996 Dec;105(5):310-9.

Alpha and beta heterochromatin in polytene chromosome 2 of Drosophila melanogaster.

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Department of Cytology and Genetics, Novosibirsk State University, Novosibirsk 630090, Russia.


The formation of alpha and beta heterochromatin in chromosomes of Drosophila melanogaster was studied in salivary glands (SGs) and pseudonurse cells (PNCs). In SGs of X0, XY, XYY, XX and XXY individuals the amounts of alpha heterochromatin were similar, suggesting that the Y chromosome does not substantially contribute to alpha heterochromatin formation. Pericentric heterochromatin developed a linear sequence of blocks in PNCs, showing morphology of both alpha and beta heterochromatin. In situ hybridization with Rsp sequences (Ho clone) revealed that the most proximal heterochromatic segment of the mitotic map (region h39) formed a polytenized block in PNCs. Dot analysis showed that the clone had a hybridization rate with PNC-DNA very close to that with DNA from mainly diploid head cells, whereas the homologous SG-DNA was dramatically underrepresented. A similar increase of DNA representation in PNC was found for AAGAC satellite DNA. The mitotic region h44 was found not to polytenize in the SG chromosome, whereas in PNC chromosome 2 this region was partly polytenized and presented as an array of several blocks of alpha and beta heterochromatin. The mapping of deficiencies with proximal breakpoints in the most distal heterochromatin segments h35 in arm 2L and h46 in 2R showed that the mitotic eu-heterochromatin transitions were located in SG chromosomes distally to the polytene 40E and 41C regions, respectively. Thus, the transition zones between mitotic hetero- and euchromatin are located in banded polytene euchromatin. A scheme for dynamic organization of pericentric heterochromatin in nuclei with polytene chromosomes is proposed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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