The role of the Suppressor of Hairy-wing insulator protein in Drosophila oogenesis

Ryan M. Baxley, Alexey A. Soshnev, Dmitry E. Koryakov, Igor F. Zhimulev, Pamela K. Geyer

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The Drosophila Suppressor of Hairy wing [Su(Hw)] insulator protein has an essential role in the development of the female germline. Here we investigate the function of Su(Hw) in the ovary. We show that Su(Hw) is universally expressed in somatic cells, while germ cell expression is dynamic. Robust levels accumulate in post-mitotic germ cells, where Su(Hw) localization is limited to chromosomes within nurse cells, the specialized cells that support oocyte growth. Although loss of Su(Hw) causes global defects in nurse cell chromosome structure, we demonstrate that these architectural changes are not responsible for the block in oogenesis. Connections between the fertility and insulator functions of Su(Hw) were investigated through studies of the two gypsy insulator proteins, Modifier of (mdg4)67.2 (Mod67.2) and Centrosomal Protein of 190. kDa (CP190). Accumulation of these proteins is distinct from Su(Hw), with Mod67.2 and CP190 showing uniform expression in all cells during early stages of oogenesis that diminishes in later stages. Although Mod67.2 and CP190 extensively co-localize with Su(Hw) on nurse cell chromosomes, neither protein is required for nurse cell chromosome development or oocyte production. These data indicate that while the gypsy insulator function requires both Mod67.2 and CP190, these proteins are not essential for oogenesis. These studies represent the first molecular investigations of Su(Hw) function in the germline, which uncover distinct requirements for Su(Hw) insulator and ovary functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)398-410
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 15 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank for Daniel Pauli, Michelle Moritz and Dorothea Godt generously supplying Stand still, CP190 and Traffic Jam antibodies, respectively. We thank Victor Corces for the Cp190 mutant alleles. We thank Chantal Allamargot and other staff in the Carver College of Medicine Microscopy Facility for assistance in immunohistochemical experiments. We thank the Geyer laboratory for their critical reading of this manuscript. This work was supported by the National Institute of Health grant GM42539 to P.K.G., National Institute of Health ( T32073610 ) training position to R.M.B., and the Russian Foundation for Basic Research grant 09-04-00437 , grant 6.4 of the program of Presidium RAS “Molecular and cellular biology”, Interdisciplinary integration project of SB RAS N 37 , government contract ROSNAUKA 02.740.11.0099 for funding to D.E.K. and I.F.Z.


  • CP190
  • Drosophila
  • Insulator
  • Mod(mdg4)
  • Oogenesis
  • Su(Hw)


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