Gene regulation by chromatin structure: paradigms established in Drosophila melanogaster

Annu Rev Entomol. 2007;52:171-92. doi: 10.1146/annurev.ento.51.110104.151007.


Studies in Drosophila melanogaster have revealed paradigms for regulating gene expression through chromatin structure, including mechanisms of gene activation and silencing. Regulation occurs at the level of individual genes, chromosomal domains, and entire chromosomes. The chromatin state is dynamic, allowing for changes in gene expression in response to cellular signals and/or environmental cues. Changes in chromatin result from the action of ATP-dependent chromatin-remodeling complexes, reversible epigenetic histone modifications, and the incorporation of histone variants. Many of the chromatin-based transcriptional regulatory mechanisms discovered in D. melanogaster are evolutionarily conserved and therefore serve as a foundation for studies in other organisms.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / physiology
  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / physiology
  • Chromatin / physiology*
  • Chromatin Assembly and Disassembly*
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / physiology
  • Dosage Compensation, Genetic
  • Drosophila Proteins / physiology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Gene Silencing
  • Polycomb-Group Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins / physiology
  • Trans-Activators / physiology
  • Transcription Factors / physiology


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Chromatin
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • ISWI protein
  • Polycomb-Group Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Trans-Activators
  • Transcription Factors
  • brm protein, Drosophila
  • heterochromatin protein 1, Drosophila
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases