Long-range repression by multiple Polycomb group (PcG) proteins targeted by fusion to a defined DNA-binding domain in drosophila

Robin R. Roseman, Kelly Morgan, Daniel R. Mallin, Rachel Roberson, Timothy J. Parnell, Douglas J. Bornemann, Jeffrey A. Simon, Pamela K. Geyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


A tethering assay was developed to study the effects of Polycomb group (PcG) proteins on gene expression in vivo. This system employed the Su(Hw) DNA-binding domain (ZnF) to direct PcG proteins to transposons that carried the white and yellow reporter genes. These reporters constituted naive sensors of PcG effects, as bona fide PcG response elements (PREs) were absent from the constructs. To assess the effects of different genomic environments, reporter transposons integrated at nearly 40 chromosomal sites were analyzed. Three PcG fusion proteins, ZnF-PC, ZnF-SCM, and ZnF-ESC, were studied, since biochemical analyses place these PcG proteins in distinct complexes. Tethered ZnF-PcG proteins repressed white and yellow expression at the majority, of sites tested, with each fusion protein displaying a characteristic degree of silencing. Repression by ZnF-PC was stronger than ZnF-SCM, which was stronger than ZnF-ESC, as judged by the percentage of insertion lines affected and the magnitude of the conferred repression. ZnF-PcG repression was more effective at centric and telomeric reporter insertion sites, as compared to euchromatic sites. ZnF-PcG proteins tethered as far as 3.0 kb away from the target promoter produced silencing, indicating that these effects were long range. Repression by ZnF-SCM required a protein interaction domain, the SPM domain, which suggests that this domain is not primarily used to direct SCM to chromosomal loci. This targeting system is useful for studying protein domains and mechanisms involved in PcG repression in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)291-307
Number of pages17
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001


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