The Fab-7 element of the bithorax complex attenuates enhancer-promoter interactions in the Drosophila embryo

Jumin Zhou, Scott Barolo, Paul Szymanski, Michael Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Scopus citations

Abstract

Enhancers integrate positive and negative regulatory information to direct localized patterns of gene expression in the Drosophila embryo. Here we present evidence for the occurrence of cis regulatory elements that control the levels of gene expression by modulating enhancer-promoter interactions. For this purpose we have investigated the Drosophila bithorax complex (BX-C) because genetic studies suggest that the BX-C contains as much as 300 kb of cis regulatory information. A specialized DNA element, Fab-7, has been proposed to function as a boundary element that separates the iab-6 and iab-7 cis regulatory regions within the Abd-B domain of the BX-C. A 1.2- kb Fab-7 DNA fragment was placed between divergently transcribed white and lacZ test promoters and challenged with several defined enhancers expressed in the early embryo. These studies suggest that Fab-7 functions as an attenuator, which weakens gene expression by reducing enhancer-promoter interactions. Fab-7 selectively blocks distal enhancers in an orientation- independent fashion, and can function when located far from either the distal enhancer or target promoter. Fab-7 may be related to insulator DNAs, which flank genetic loci and functionally isolate neighboring genes. We propose that specialized DNA elements, such as the Fab-7 attenuator, might play a general role in controlling the levels of gene expression by modulating enhancer-promoter interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3195-3201
Number of pages7
JournalGenes and Development
Volume10
Issue number24
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 15 1996
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Genetics
  • Developmental Biology

Keywords

  • Drosophila
  • Fab-7
  • attenuator
  • enhancer

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