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Conserved chromosomal clustering of genes governed by chromatin regulators in Drosophila

Enrique Blanco1, Miguel Pignatelli14, Sergi Beltran12, Adrià Punset1, Silvia Pérez-Lluch1, Florenci Serras1, Roderic Guigó23 and Montserrat Corominas1*

  • * Corresponding author: Montserrat Corominas mcorominas@ub.edu

  • † Equal contributors

Author Affiliations

1 Departament de Genètica and Institut de Biomedicina de la Universitat de Barcelona (IBUB), Universitat de Barcelona, Diagonal 645, 08028 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

2 Centre de Regulació Genòmica, Parc de Recerca Biomèdica de Barcelona, Dr. Aiguader 88, 08003 Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

3 Grup de Recerca en Informàtica Biomèdica, Institut Municipal d'Investigació Mèdica - Universitat Pompeu Fabra Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain

4 Current address: Instituto Cavanilles of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, University of Valencia, Apdo 22085, 46071 Valencia, Spain and CIBER of Epidemiology and Public Health (CIBERESP)

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Genome Biology 2008, 9:R134  doi:10.1186/gb-2008-9-9-r134

Published: 10 September 2008

Abstract

Background

The trithorax group (trxG) and Polycomb group (PcG) proteins are responsible for the maintenance of stable transcriptional patterns of many developmental regulators. They bind to specific regions of DNA and direct the post-translational modifications of histones, playing a role in the dynamics of chromatin structure.

Results

We have performed genome-wide expression studies of trx and ash2 mutants in Drosophila melanogaster. Using computational analysis of our microarray data, we have identified 25 clusters of genes potentially regulated by TRX. Most of these clusters consist of genes that encode structural proteins involved in cuticle formation. This organization appears to be a distinctive feature of the regulatory networks of TRX and other chromatin regulators, since we have observed the same arrangement in clusters after experiments performed with ASH2, as well as in experiments performed by others with NURF, dMyc, and ASH1. We have also found many of these clusters to be significantly conserved in D. simulans, D. yakuba, D. pseudoobscura and partially in Anopheles gambiae.

Conclusion

The analysis of genes governed by chromatin regulators has led to the identification of clusters of functionally related genes conserved in other insect species, suggesting this chromosomal organization is biologically important. Moreover, our results indicate that TRX and other chromatin regulators may act globally on chromatin domains that contain transcriptionally co-regulated genes.