Enhancer action in trans is permitted throughout the Drosophila genome

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Mar 19;99(6):3723-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.062447999.


Interactions between paired homologous genes can lead to changes in gene expression. Such trans-regulatory effects exemplify transvection and are displayed by many genes in Drosophila, in which homologous chromosomes are paired somatically. Transvection involving the yellow cuticle pigmentation gene can occur by at least two mechanisms, one involving the trans-action of enhancers on a paired promoter and a second involving pairing-mediated bypass of a chromatin insulator. A system was developed to evaluate whether the action of the yellow enhancers in trans could be reconstituted outside of the natural near telomeric location of the yellow gene. To this end, transgenic flies were generated that carried a yellow gene modified by the inclusion of strategically placed recognition sites for the Cre and FLP recombinases. Independent action of the recombinases produced a pair of derivative alleles, one enhancerless and the other promoterless, at each transgene location. Transvection between the derivatives was assessed by the degree of interallelic complementation. Complementation was observed at all eight sites tested. These studies demonstrate that yellow transvection can occur at multiple genomic locations and indicate that the Drosophila genome generally is permissive to enhancer action in trans.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Attachment Sites, Microbiological / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Enhancer Elements, Genetic / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Genes, Insect / genetics*
  • Genetic Complementation Test
  • Genetic Engineering
  • Genome
  • Germ Cells / metabolism
  • Insect Proteins / genetics*
  • Integrases / genetics
  • Integrases / metabolism
  • Male
  • Phenotype
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • Recombination, Genetic / genetics
  • Transgenes / genetics
  • Viral Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Proteins / metabolism


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Insect Proteins
  • Viral Proteins
  • y protein, Drosophila
  • Cre recombinase
  • Integrases