Enhancer Silencing In Response To Gene Dosage And Natural Variation

          We discovered that reporter genes inserted into the Ubx gene, which report subsets of the complex transcriptional inputs into this gene, are silenced in response to increasing the Ubx dose or in response to natural genetic variation. For the second phenomenon, we showed that these reporter genes are turned off in patches of cells in the haltere imaginal disc when they are crossed into strains of Drosophila melanogaster that come from various places around the world. These observations argue that the same cis-regulatory elements have distinct activities depending on the genetic background. See Crickmore et al., 2009

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Artist: Vikram Ranade

Shown above is a haltere imaginal disc with patches of cells that no longer express a Ubx enhancer trap (GFP+) due to epigenetic silencing. The image was modified to represent continents on the globe, to make the point that crosses with wild populations throughout the world can trigger this silencing. See Crickmore et al., 2009 for more details.



 An example of a haltere imaginal disc stained for Ubx (red) and a Ubx enhancer trap (green) from an F1 animal in which one parent came from our lab stock and the other parent came from North Carolina. Patches of non-expressing cells where the enhancer trap was silenced (lack of GFP+) can be observed. See Crickmore et al., 2009 for more details.




Representative publications:


Crickmore, MA, Ranade, V. and Mann RS. Regulation of Ubx expression by epigentic silencing in response to Ubx levels and genetic variation. PLoS Genetics (2009) 5: e1000633.

PDF: Crickmore etalPG



The Laboratory of Richard S Mann
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics
Columbia University Medical Center
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