Article

Chromosoma

, Volume 102, Issue 8, pp 583-590

First online:

Cytogenetic and molecular aspects of position-effect variegation in Drosophila melanogaster

V. Heterochromatin-associated protein HP1 appears in euchromatic chromosomal regions that are inactivated as a result of position-effect variegation
  • E. S. BelyaevaAffiliated withDepartment of Molecular Cytogenetics, Institute of Cytology and Genetics
  • , O. V. DemakovaAffiliated withDepartment of Molecular Cytogenetics, Institute of Cytology and Genetics
  • , G. H. UmbetovaAffiliated withDepartment of Molecular Cytogenetics, Institute of Cytology and Genetics
  • , I. F. ZhimulevAffiliated withDepartment of Molecular Cytogenetics, Institute of Cytology and Genetics

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Abstract

Position-effect variegation in Drosophila melanogaster is accompanied by compaction of the corresponding chromosomal regions. The compaction can be continuous, so that bands and interbands located distal to the eu-heterochromatic junction fuse into one dense block, or discontinuous, when two or more zones of compaction are separated by morphologically and functionally normal regions. In this work it was found that in both continuous and discontinuous compaction the blocks of dense material contain the immunochemically detectable protein HP1, which has previously been characterized as specific for heterochromatin. The regions undergoing compaction do not contain HP1 when they have a normal banding pattern. Thus, it may be proposed that HP1 is one of the factors involved in compaction. If two different or two identical rearrangements are combined in the same nucleus, they variegate independently. The frequency of compaction of the two rearrangements in the same nucleus corresponds to the product of the frequencies of the compact state of the individual elements. The extent of compaction (i.e. the number of bands involved in heterochromatization) of each rearrangement does not depend on the compaction pattern of the other rearranged element.