Open Close
Dufourt, J., Brasset, E., Desset, S., Pouchin, P., Vaury, C. (2011). Polycomb group-dependent, heterochromatin protein 1-independent, chromatin structures silence retrotransposons in somatic tissues outside ovaries.  DNA Res. 18(6): 451--461.
FlyBase ID
Publication Type
Research paper

Somatic cells are equipped with different silencing mechanisms that protect the genome against retrotransposons. In Drosophila melanogaster, a silencing pathway implicating the argonaute protein PIWI represses retrotransposons in cells surrounding the oocyte, whereas a PIWI-independent pathway is involved in other somatic tissues. Here, we show that these two silencing mechanisms result in distinct chromatin structures. Using sensor transgenes, we found that, in somatic tissues outside of the ovaries, these transgenes adopt a heterochromatic configuration implicating hypermethylation of H3K9 and K27. We identified the Polycomb repressive complexes (PRC1 and 2), but not heterochromatin protein 1 to be necessary factors for silencing. Once established, the compact structure is stably maintained through cell divisions. By contrast, in cells where the silencing is PIWI-dependent, the transgenes display an open and labile chromatin structure. Our data suggest that a post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS) mechanism is responsible for the repression in the ovarian somatic cells, whereas a mechanism that couples PTGS to transcriptional gene silencing operates to silence retrotransposons in the other somatic tissues.

PubMed ID
PubMed Central ID
PMC3223077 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
Associated Information
Associated Files
Other Information
Secondary IDs
    Language of Publication
    Additional Languages of Abstract
    Parent Publication
    Publication Type
    DNA Res.
    DNA research : an international journal for rapid publication of reports on genes and genomes
    Publication Year
    1340-2838 1756-1663
    Data From Reference
    Alleles (10)
    Genes (13)
    Natural transposons (2)
    Experimental Tools (1)
    Transgenic Constructs (4)