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Chromosoma. 1998 Nov;107(5):277-85.

Characterization of sequences associated with position-effect variegation at pericentric sites in Drosophila heterochromatin.

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Department of Biochemistry, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.


In a variety of organisms, euchromatic genes brought into juxtaposition with pericentric heterochromatin show position-effect variegation (PEV), a silencing of gene expression in a subset of the cells in which the gene is normally expressed. Previously, a P-element mobilization screen identified transgenic Drosophila stocks showing PEV of an hsp70-white+ reporter gene; transgenes in many of these stocks map to the chromocenter of polytene chromosome. A screen at an elevated temperature identified two stocks that under standard culture temperatures show complete repression of the hsp70-white+ transgene. The transgenes in both cases map to the chromocenter of polytene chromosomes. Different types of middle repetitive elements are adjacent to seven pericentric transgenes; unique sequences are adjacent to two of the perimetric transgenes. All of the transgenes show suppression of PEV in response to a mutation in the gene encoding heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1). This suppression correlates with a more accessible chromatin structure. The results indicate that a pericentric transgene showing PEV can be associated with different types of DNA sequences, while maintaining a common association with the chromosomal protein HP1.

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