Complete reconstitution of bypass and blocking functions in a minimal artificial Fab-7 insulator from Drosophila bithorax complex

Olga Kyrchanova, Marat Sabirov, Vladic Mogila, Amina Kurbidaeva, Nikolay Postika, Oksana Maksimenko, Paul Schedl, Pavel Georgiev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Boundaries in the bithorax complex (BX-C) delimit autonomous regulatory domains that drive parasegment-specific expression of the Hox genes Ubx, abd-A, and Abd-B. The Fab-7 boundary is located between the iab-6 and iab-7 domains and has two key functions: blocking cross-talk between these domains and at the same time promoting communication (boundary bypass) between iab-6 and the Abd-B promoter. Using a replacement strategy, we found that multimerized binding sites for the architectural proteins Pita, Su(Hw), and dCTCF function as conventional insulators and block cross-talk between the iab-6 and iab-7 domains; however, they lack bypass activity, and iab-6 is unable to regulate Abd-B. Here we show that an ∼200-bp sequence of dHS1 from the Fab-7 boundary rescues the bypass defects of these multimerized binding sites. The dHS1 sequence is bound in embryos by a large multiprotein complex, Late Boundary Complex (LBC), that contains the zinc finger proteins CLAMP and GAF. Using deletions and mutations in critical GAGAG motifs, we show that bypass activity correlates with the efficiency of recruitment of LBC components CLAMP and GAF to the artificial boundary. These results indicate that LBC orchestrates long-distance communication between the iab-6 regulatory domain and the Abd-B gene, while the Pita, Su(Hw), and dCTCF proteins function to block local cross-talk between the neighboring regulatory domains iab-6 and iab-7.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13462-13467
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number27
StatePublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


  • Architectural proteins
  • Chromatin insulator
  • Distant interactions
  • LBC


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