, Volume 100, Issue 7, pp 453-466

Cytogenetic and molecular aspects of position effect variegation in Drosophila

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Abstract

Variations in compaction of chromosomal material of the rearrangements Dp(1;f) 1337, Dp(1;f) R, Dp(1;1)pn2b, and T(1;4)w m258-21, which display an extended position effect, were characterized. Morphological changes found in these rearangements were assigned to two major types: (i) continuous compaction, in which bands and interbands located distal to the eu/heterochromatin junction fuse into one compacted block of chromatin. The extent of compaction is increased by enhancers of position effect (low temperature, removal of the Y or 2R chromosome heterochromatin). In extreme cases compaction extends over dozens of bands. (ii) Discontinuous compaction, in which at least two zones of compaction separated by morphologically normal zones can readily be identified. As a result, some regions located at a greater distance from heterochromatin may be compacted more frequently than others than map nearer to it. A few regions (1D, 2B1-12, 2D) were shown to be most frequently compacted in all rearrangements investigated. The 2B13-18, 2C1-2, 2E, and 2F regions exhibited the lowest frequencies of compaction. Compaction of the zone containing the 2B1-12 bands is always accompanied by inactivation of the ecs locus, which maps in the 2B3-5 puff. At the same time the 2C1-2 and 2E bands located nearer to the breakpoint can retain normal morphology and puffing in response to ecdysterone. The results are interpreted as morphological manifestations of the discontinuity of the spreading effect.

by W. Beermann