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Berloco, M., Palumbo, G., Piacentini, L., Pimpinelli, S., Fanti, L. (2014). Position effect variegation and viability are both sensitive to dosage of constitutive heterochromatin in Drosophila.  G3 (Bethesda) 4(9): 1709--1716.
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Research paper

The dosage effect of Y-chromosome heterochromatin on suppression of position effect variegation (PEV) has long been well-known in Drosophila. The phenotypic effects of increasing the overall dosage of Y heterochromatin have also been demonstrated; hyperploidy of the Y chromosome produces male sterility and many somatic defects including variegation and abnormal legs and wings. This work addresses whether the suppression of position effect variegation (PEV) is a general feature of the heterochromatin (independent of the chromosome of origin) and whether a hyperdosage of heterochromatin can affect viability. The results show that the suppression of PEV is a general feature of any type of constitutive heterochromatin and that the intensity of suppression depends on its amount instead of some mappable factor on it. We also describe a clear dosage effect of Y heterochromatin on the viability of otherwise wild-type embryos and the modification of that effect by a specific gene mutation. Together, our results indicate that the correct balance between heterochromatin and euchromatin is essential for the normal genome expression and that this balance is genetically controlled.

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PMC4169164 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
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    G3 (Bethesda)
    G3 : genes - genomes - genetics
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