Drosophila melanogaster males have one X chromosome, while females have two. To compensate for the resulting disparity in X-linked gene expression between the two sexes, most genes from the male X chromosome are hyperactivated by a special dosage compensation system. Dosage compensation is achieved by a complex of at least six proteins and two noncoding RNAs that specifically associate with the male X. A central question is how the X chromosome is recognized. According to a current model, complexes initially assemble at ∼35 chromatin entry sites on the X and then spread bidirectionally along the chromosome where they occupy hundreds of sites. Here, we report that mutations in Trithorax-like (Trl) lead to the loss of a single chromatin entry site on the X, male lethality, and mislocalization of dosage compensation complexes.
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