Transcriptional repression via antilooping in the Drosophila embryo

Vivek S. Chopra, Nikki Kong, Michael Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Transcriptional repressors are thought to inhibit gene expression by interfering with the binding or function of RNA Polymerase II, perhaps by promoting local chromatin condensation. Here, we present evidence for a distinctive mechanism of repression, whereby sequence-specific repressors prevent the looping of distal enhancers to the promoter. Particular efforts focus on the Snail repressor, which plays a conserved role in promoting epithelialmesenchyme transitions in both invertebrates and vertebrates, including mesoderm invagination in Drosophila, neural crest migration in vertebrates, and tumorigenesis in mammals. Chromosome conformation capture experiments were used to examine enhancer looping at Snail target genes in wild-type and mutant embryos. These studies suggest that the Snail repressor blocks the formation of fruitful enhancer-promoter interactions when bound to a distal enhancer. This higher-order mechanism of transcriptional repression has broad implications for the control of gene activity in metazoan development.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9460-9464
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number24
StatePublished - Jun 12 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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