Novobiocin blocks the Drosophila heat shock response

Stella Han, Andor Udvardy, Paul Schedl

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51 Scopus citations


In the studies reported here we show that the antibiotic novobiocin, an in vitro inhibitor of topoisomerase II, blocks the Drosophila heat shock response. If novobiocin is added prior to induction, there is no detectable expression of the Drosophila heat shock genes. Moreover, analysis of the chromatin organization of the 87A7 heat shock locus indicates that the antibiotic prevents the structural alterations which normally accompany heat induction. When novobiocin is added after induction, transcription appears to be rapidly turned off, and the chromatin organization of the 87A7 locus is "fixed" in an "active" configuration. Novobiocin also prevents the re-establishment of the pre-induced 87A7 chromatin organization which occurs during recovery from heat shock. We have also presented data suggesting that this antibiotic blocks transcription at 25 °C. These findings raise the possibility that topoisomerase II may be required in eukaryotes for both gene activation and deactivation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-29
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Molecular Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 5 1985

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Structural Biology


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