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Cell. 1997 Aug 8;90(3):479-90.

Cosuppression in Drosophila: gene silencing of Alcohol dehydrogenase by white-Adh transgenes is Polycomb dependent.

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  • 1Division of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia 65211, USA.


When two to six copies of a white promoter-Alcohol dehydrogenase (Adh) reporter fusion gene are introduced into the genome, the expression is progressively reduced both in larvae and adults rather than the expected gene dosage effect. In addition, multiple transgenes reduce endogenous Adh transcripts, a result that is strongly analogous to "cosuppression" phenomena described in many plant species but which has not been previously observed in animals. Silencing of the Adh gene is not influenced by zeste-dependent transvection but strongly affected by the Polycomb and Polycomblike mutations. Polycomb and polyhomeotic proteins are bound to the chromatin at the sites of the repressed w-Adh transgenes.

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