A new study to be published in the June 2006 issue of Nature Genetics reports the binding profile of proteins involved in organizing the structure of DNA in the Drosophila genome.
Maarten van Lohuizen, Bas van Steensel and colleagues report the identification of the genetic elements that are capable of binding polycomb proteins in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. Polycomb protein complexes are proteins involved with the structural organization of the DNA into chromosomes, and are known to bind to chromatin and establish silenced gene regions. Previous studies have implicated polycomb protein complexes in the maintenance of stem cells and in the control of cell proliferation and differentiation.
The authors found that polycomb complexes bind to large genomic regions, indicating that they are important for the formation of repressive chromatin domains. Repressive chromatin domains are an important component in the control of expression of the genome. The authors also found that polycomb complexes preferentially bind to developmental genes, highlighting the involvement of PcG proteins in the coordination of development.
Dr. Maarten van Lohuizen (The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Dr. Bas van Steensel (The Netherlands Cancer Institute, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
Abstract available online.
(C) Nature Genetics press release.
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