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Transcription defines the embryonic domains of cis-regulatory activity at the Drosophila bithorax complex

Drewell, Robert A. and Bae, Esther and Burr, John and Lewis, Edward B. (2002) Transcription defines the embryonic domains of cis-regulatory activity at the Drosophila bithorax complex. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 99 (26). pp. 16853-16858. ISSN 0027-8424.

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The extensive infraabdominal (iab) region contains a number of cis-regulatory elements, including enhancers, silencers, and insulators responsible for directing the developmental expression of the abdominal-A and Abdominal-B homeotic genes at the Drosophila bithorax complex. It is unclear how these regulatory elements are primed for activity early in embryogenesis, but the 100-kb intergenic region is subject to a complex transcriptional program. Here, we use molecular and genetic methods to examine the functional activity of the RNAs produced from this region and their role in cis regulation. We show that a subset of these transcripts demonstrates a distinct pattern of cellular localization. Furthermore, the transcripts from each iab region are discrete and the transcripts do not spread across the insulator elements that delineate the iab regions. In embryos carrying a Mcp deletion, the intergenic transcription pattern is disrupted in the iab4 region and the fourth abdominal segment is transformed into the fifth. We propose that intergenic transcription is required early in embryogenesis to initiate the activation of the Drosophila bithorax complex and define the domains of activity for the iab cis-regulatory elements. We also discuss a possible mechanism by which this may occur.

Item Type:Article
Additional Information:Copyright © 2002 by the National Academy of Sciences. Contributed by Edward B. Lewis, November 4, 2002. Published online before print December 12, 2002, 10.1073/pnas.222671299 We thank Sumio Ohtsuki for unpublished DNA constructs, Mark Stapleton for providing the engrailed probe and Cory Olsen for technical assistance. We also thank Katharine Arney, Andrew Dowsett, and Joanne Topol for comments on the manuscript. This work was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health to E.B.L. (HD06331). R.A.D. was funded by a Wellcome Trust Prize Traveling Fellowship.
Issue or Number:26
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:DREpnas02
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:1106
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:20 Dec 2005
Last Modified:02 Oct 2019 22:40

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