Enhancer Silencing In Response To Gene Dosage And Natural Variation

We continue to be intrigued by how the activities of transcriptional regulatory elements are sometimes modified by genetic variation present in natural populations of flies.

We discovered that reporter genes inserted into the Ubx gene, which report subsets of the complex transcriptional inputs into this gene, are silenced in response to increasing the Ubx dose or in response to natural genetic variation. For the second phenomenon, we showed that these reporter genes are turned off in patches of cells in the haltere imaginal disc when they are crossed into strains of Drosophila melanogaster that come from various places around the world. These observations argue that the same cis-regulatory elements have distinct activities depending on the genetic background. See Crickmore et al., 2009

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Crickmore MA, Ranade V, Mann RS. Regulation of Ubx expression by epigenetic enhancer silencing in response to Ubx levels and genetic variation. PLoS Genet. 2009 Sep;5(9):e1000633. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1000633. Epub 2009 Sep 4. PubMed PMID: 19730678; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2726431.