Elements of the Drosophila bithorax complex that mediate repression by polycomb group products

Jeffrey Simon, Anne Chiang, Welcome Bender, Mary Jane Shimell, Michael O’connor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

223 Scopus citations

Abstract

The Polycomb (Pc) group genes encode repressors that restrict expression of homeotic genes to precise domains along the anterior-posterior (A-P) axis. We describe germline transformation constructs, containing portions of the bxd, iab-2, or iab-3 regulatory regions of the bithorax complex (BX-C), that are controlled by Pc group products in embryos. There are multiple BX-C elements that mediate Pc group control, which we call Pc group response elements (PREs), and they can work when removed from the normal BX-C context. These constructs are each regulated by the genes Polycomb (Pc), extra sex combs (esc), Enhancer of zeste (E[z]), polyhomeotic (ph), Polycomb-like (Pcl), Sex comb on midleg (Scm), Posterior sex combs (Psc), and Additional sex combs (Asx), consistent with multiple Pc group products acting together. Depending upon context, a PRE from the iab-3 region can restrict expression in different A-P positions. Thus, PREs are not specialized for particular parasegments, suggesting that Pc group products do not directly specify A-P boundaries of homeotic expression. Instead, the results support the idea that Pc group products provide stable memory or imprinting of boundaries which are initially specified by gap and pair-rule regulators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)131-144
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Volume158
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1993

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