Recruitment of Drosophila Polycomb group proteins to chromatin by DSP1

Nature. 2005 Mar 24;434(7032):533-8. doi: 10.1038/nature03386.


Polycomb and trithorax group (PcG and trxG) proteins maintain silent and active transcriptional states, respectively, throughout development. In Drosophila, PcG and trxG proteins associate with DNA regions named Polycomb and trithorax response elements (PRE and TRE), but the mechanisms of recruitment are unknown. We previously characterized a minimal element from the regulatory region of the Abdominal-B gene, termed Ab-Fab. Ab-Fab contains a PRE and a TRE and is able to maintain repressed or active chromatin states during development. Here we show that the Dorsal switch protein 1 (DSP1), a Drosophila HMGB2 homologue, binds to a sequence present within Ab-Fab and in other characterized PREs. Addition of this motif to an artificial sequence containing Pleiohomeotic and GAGA factor consensus sites is sufficient for PcG protein recruitment in vivo. Mutations that abolish DSP1 binding to Ab-Fab and to a PRE from the engrailed locus lead to loss of PcG protein binding, loss of silencing, and switching of these PREs into constitutive TREs. The binding of DSP1 to PREs is therefore important for the recruitment of PcG proteins.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Chromatin / genetics
  • Chromatin / metabolism*
  • Chromatin Immunoprecipitation
  • Chromosomes / genetics
  • Chromosomes / metabolism
  • Consensus Sequence / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Drosophila Proteins / classification*
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / embryology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Gene Silencing
  • High Mobility Group Proteins / metabolism*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / genetics
  • In Situ Hybridization, Fluorescence
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Polycomb Repressive Complex 1
  • Protein Binding
  • Response Elements / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • Transgenes / genetics


  • Abd-B proteins, Drosophila
  • Chromatin
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • DSP1 protein, Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • High Mobility Group Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Pc protein, Drosophila
  • Transcription Factors
  • Trl protein, Drosophila
  • Polycomb Repressive Complex 1