pitkinD, a novel gain-of-function enhancer of position-effect variegation, affects chromatin regulation during oogenesis and early embryogenesis in Drosophila

Steffi Kuhfittig, János Szabad, Gunnar Schotta, Jan Hoffmann, Endre Máthé, Gunter Reuter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The vast majority, of the >100 modifier genes of position-effect variegation (PEV) in Drosophila have been identified genetically as haplo-insufficient loci. Here, we describe pitkinDominant (ptnD), a gain-of-function enhancer mutation of PEV. Its exceptionally strong enhancer effect is evident as elevated spreading of heterochromatin-induced gene silencing along euchromatic regions in variegating rearrangements. The ptnD mutation causes ectopic binding of the SU(VAR)3-9 heterochromatin protein at many euchromatic sites and, unlike other modifiers of PEV, it also affects stable position effects. Specifically, it induces silencing of white+ transgenes inserted at a wide variety of euchromatic sites. ptnD is associated with dominant female sterility. +/+ embryos produced by ptnD/+ females mated with wild-type males die at the end of embryogenesis, whereas the ptnD/+ sibling embryos arrest development at cleavage cycle 1-3, due to a combined effect of maternally provided mutant product and an early zygotic lethal effect of ptnD. This is the earliest zygotic effect of a mutation so far reported in Drosophila. Germ-line mosaics show that ptn+ function is required for normal development in the female germ line. These results, together with effects on PEV and white+ transgenes, are consistent with the hypothesis that the ptn gene plays an important role in chromatin regulation during development of the female germ line and in early embryogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1227-1244
Number of pages18
JournalGenetics
Volume157
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 31 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics

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