In Drosophila, dosage compensation is controlled by the male-specific lethal (MSL) complex consisting of at least five proteins and two noncoding RNAs, roX1 and roX2. The roX RNAs function in targeting MSL complex to the X chromosome, and roX transgenes can nucleate spreading of the MSL complex into flanking chromatin when inserted on an autosome. An MSL-binding site (DHS, DNaseI hypersensitive site) has been identified in each roX gene. Here, we investigate the functions of the DHS using transgenic deletion analyses and reporter assays. We find that MSL interaction with the DHS counteracts constitutive repression at roX1, resulting in male-specific expression of roX1 RNA. Surprisingly, the DHS is not required for initiation of cis spreading of MSL complex, instead local transcription of roX RNAs correlates with extensive spreading.
- Dosage compensation
- Noncoding RNA
- Transcriptional regulation
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)