The chromatin fiber of eukaryotic chromosomes is thought to be organized into a series of discrete domains or loops. To learn more about these large-scale structures, we have examined the sequence and chromatin organization of the DNA segments surrounding the two hsp 70 genes at the Drosophila melanogaster cytogenetic locus 87A7. These studies indicate that this heat shock locus is flanked on both the proximal and distal sides by novel chromatin structures, which we have called, respectively, scs and scs' (specialized chromatin structures). Each structure is defined by two sets of closely spaced nuclease-hypersensitive sites arranged around a central nuclease-resistant segment. Our findings suggest that these two structures define the proximal and distal boundaries of the 87A7 chromomere and, hence, may be one of the first examples of anchor points for the organization of eukaryotic chromosomes into a series of discrete higher order domains. Moreover, these structures may provide focal points both for the decondensation of the chromomere when the hsp 70 genes are induced by heat shock and for the subsequent rewinding and condensation of the chromomere during recovery from heat shock.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Structural Biology
- Molecular Biology