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      A Mosaic Genetic Screen Reveals Distinct Roles for trithorax and Polycomb Group Genes in Drosophila Eye Development

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          Most cited references 55

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          Dissecting the regulatory circuitry of a eukaryotic genome.

          Genome-wide expression analysis was used to identify genes whose expression depends on the functions of key components of the transcription initiation machinery in yeast. Components of the RNA polymerase II holoenzyme, the general transcription factor TFIID, and the SAGA chromatin modification complex were found to have roles in expression of distinct sets of genes. The results reveal an unanticipated level of regulation which is superimposed on that due to gene-specific transcription factors, a novel mechanism for coordinate regulation of specific sets of genes when cells encounter limiting nutrients, and evidence that the ultimate targets of signal transduction pathways can be identified within the initiation apparatus.
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            Histone methyltransferase activity of a Drosophila Polycomb group repressor complex.

            Polycomb group (PcG) proteins maintain transcriptional repression during development, likely by creating repressive chromatin states. The Extra Sex Combs (ESC) and Enhancer of Zeste [E(Z)] proteins are partners in an essential PcG complex, but its full composition and biochemical activities are not known. A SET domain in E(Z) suggests this complex might methylate histones. We purified an ESC-E(Z) complex from Drosophila embryos and found four major subunits: ESC, E(Z), NURF-55, and the PcG repressor, SU(Z)12. A recombinant complex reconstituted from these four subunits methylates lysine-27 of histone H3. Mutations in the E(Z) SET domain disrupt methyltransferase activity in vitro and HOX gene repression in vivo. These results identify E(Z) as a PcG protein with enzymatic activity and implicate histone methylation in PcG-mediated silencing.
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              Molecular basis for the discrimination of repressive methyl-lysine marks in histone H3 by Polycomb and HP1 chromodomains.

              On the histone H3 tail, Lys 9 and Lys 27 are both methylation sites associated with epigenetic repression, and reside within a highly related sequence motif ARKS. Here we show that the chromodomain proteins Polycomb (Pc) and HP1 (heterochromatin protein 1) are highly discriminatory for binding to these sites in vivo and in vitro. In Drosophila S2 cells, and on polytene chromosomes, methyl-Lys 27 and Pc are both excluded from areas that are enriched in methyl-Lys 9 and HP1. Swapping of the chromodomain regions of Pc and HP1 is sufficient for switching the nuclear localization patterns of these factors, indicating a role for their chromodomains in both target site binding and discrimination. To better understand the molecular basis for the selection of methyl-lysine binding sites, we solved the 1.8 A structure of the Pc chromodomain in complex with a H3 peptide bearing trimethyl-Lys 27, and compared it with our previously determined structure of the HP1 chromodomain in complex with a H3 peptide bearing trimethyl-Lys 9. The Pc chromodomain distinguishes its methylation target on the H3 tail via an extended recognition groove that binds five additional residues preceding the ARKS motif.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Genetics
                Genetics
                Genetics Society of America
                0016-6731
                1943-2631
                March 02 2004
                January 2004
                January 2004
                March 02 2004
                : 166
                : 1
                : 187-200
                Article
                10.1534/genetics.166.1.187
                © 2004

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