Americo et al., 2002, Genetics 160(4): 1561--1571
|Americo et al., 2002, Genetics 160(4): 1561--1571|
A complex array of DNA-binding proteins required for pairing-sensitive silencing by a Polycomb group response element From the Drosophila engrailed gene.
Regulatory DNA from the Drosophila gene engrailed causes silencing of a linked reporter gene (mini-white) in transgenic Drosophila. This silencing is strengthened in flies homozygous for the transgene and has been called "pairing-sensitive silencing." The pairing-sensitive silencing activities of a large fragment (2.6 kb) and a small subfragment (181 bp) were explored. Since pairing-sensitive silencing is often associated with Polycomb group response elements (PREs), we tested the activities of each of these engrailed fragments in a construct designed to detect PRE activity in embryos. Both fragments were found to behave as PREs in a bxd-Ubx-lacZ reporter construct, while the larger fragment showed additional silencing capabilities. Using the mini-white reporter gene, a 139-bp minimal pairing-sensitive element (PSE) was defined. DNA mobility-shift assays using Drosophila nuclear extracts suggested that there are eight protein-binding sites within this 139-bp element. Mutational analysis showed that at least five of these sites are important for pairing-sensitive silencing. One of the required sites is for the Polycomb group protein Pleiohomeotic and another is GAGAG, a sequence bound by the proteins GAGA factor and Pipsqueak. The identity of the other proteins is unknown. These data suggest a surprising degree of complexity in the DNA-binding proteins required for PSE function.
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