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Cell. 1998 May 15;93(4):505-18.

The Drosophila Fab-7 chromosomal element conveys epigenetic inheritance during mitosis and meiosis.

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ZMBH, Universit├Ąt Heidelberg, Germany.


Polycomb group (PcG) and trithorax group (trxG) gene products are responsible for the maintenance of repressed and active expression patterns of many developmentally important regulatory genes including the homeotic genes. In Drosophila embryos, Polycomb protein and the trxG protein GAGA factor colocalize at the Fab-7 DNA element of the bithorax complex. In transgenic lines, the Fab-7 element induces extensive silencing on a flanking GAL4-driven lacZ reporter and mini-white genes. However, a short single pulse of GAL4 during embryogenesis is sufficient to release PcG-dependent silencing from the transgene. Such an activated state of Fab-7 is mitotically inheritable through development and can be transmitted in a GAL4-independent manner to the subsequent generations through female meiosis. Thus, Fab-7 is a switchable chromosomal element, which can convey memory of epigenetically determined active and repressed chromatin states.

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