The heterochromatic rolled gene of Drosophila melanogaster is extensively polytenized and transcriptionally active in the salivary gland chromocenter

Libera Berghella, Patrizio Dimitri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

This paper reports a cytogenetic and molecular study of the structural and functional organization of the Drosophila melanogaster chromocenter. The relations between mitotic (constitutive) heterochromatin and α- and β- heterochromatin are not fully understood. In the present work, we have studied the polytenization of the rolled (rl) locus, a 100-kb genomic region that maps to the proximal heterochromatin of chromosome 2 and has been previosly thought to contribute to α-heterochromatin. We show that rolled undergoes polytenization in salivary gland chromosomes to a degree comparable to that of euchromatic genes, despite its deep heterochromatic location. In contrast, both the Bari-1 sequences and the AAGAC satellite repeats, located respectively to the left and right of rl, are severely underepresented and thus both appear to be α-heterochomatic. In addition, we found that rl is transcribed in polytene tissues. Together, the results reported here indicate that functional sequences located within the proximal constitutive heterochromatin can undergo polytenization, contributing to the formation of β-heterochromatin. The implications of this finding to chromocenter structure are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-125
Number of pages9
JournalGenetics
Volume144
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)

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