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Characterization of a sex-influenced modifier of gene expression and suppressor of position-effect variegation inDrosophila

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Modifier of white (Mow), a dominant transacting gene, has been identified through a mutagenic screen for second-site loci that alter the level of expression of thewhite eye color locus.Mow reduces the expression ofwhite in most developmental stages, but enhances its expression in the pupal stage, the time at which the major contribution to the adult phenotype is made. Tests with anAlcohol dehydrogenase promoter-white reporter and a series ofwhite truncation constructs have shown thatMow fails to affect the reporter; cis-regulatory mutations ofwhite also show no response, suggesting a requirement forwhite regulatory domains for interaction withMow. A quantitative analysis of steady-state transcript levels reveals that thewhite mRNA level decreases in the presence of one dose ofMow in larvae and adults, but the reduction is greater in females than males. Two other functionally related genes,brown andscarlet, also exhibit a similar sexually dimorphic alteration in expression, mediated byMow. In the mid-pupal stage, by contrast, the level ofwhite andbrown mRNA is increased byMow. In addition,Mow acts as a weak suppressor of position effect variegation (PEV). These observations suggest a connection between dosage modulation of gene expression and suppression of position-effect variegation.

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Correspondence to Utpal Bhadra.

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Communicated by J. A. Campos-Ortega

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Bhadra, U., Birchler, J.A. Characterization of a sex-influenced modifier of gene expression and suppressor of position-effect variegation inDrosophila . Molec. Gen. Genet. 250, 601–613 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02174448

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Key words

  • Sex-influenced modifier
  • Position effect variegation
  • Dosage effects
  • Drosophila melanogaster