Genome-wide mapping of boundary element-associated factor (BEAF) binding sites in Drosophila melanogaster links BEAF to transcription

Mol Cell Biol. 2009 Jul;29(13):3556-68. doi: 10.1128/MCB.01748-08. Epub 2009 Apr 20.


Insulator elements play a role in gene regulation that is potentially linked to nuclear organization. Boundary element-associated factors (BEAFs) 32A and 32B associate with hundreds of sites on Drosophila polytene chromosomes. We hybridized DNA isolated by chromatin immunoprecipitation to genome tiling microarrays to construct a genome-wide map of BEAF binding locations. A distinct difference in the association of 32A and 32B with chromatin was noted. We identified 1,820 BEAF peaks and found that more than 85% were less than 300 bp from transcription start sites. Half are between head-to-head gene pairs. BEAF-associated genes are transcriptionally active as judged by the presence of RNA polymerase II, dimethylated histone H3 K4, and the alternative histone H3.3. Forty percent of these genes are also associated with the polymerase negative elongation factor NELF. Like NELF-associated genes, most BEAF-associated genes are highly expressed. Using quantitative reverse transcription-PCR, we found that the expression levels of most BEAF-associated genes decrease in embryos and cultured cells lacking BEAF. These results provide an unexpected link between BEAF and transcription, suggesting that BEAF plays a role in maintaining most associated promoter regions in an environment that facilitates high transcription levels.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • CCCTC-Binding Factor
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • DNA-Binding Proteins* / genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins* / metabolism
  • Drosophila Proteins* / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins* / metabolism
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism
  • Eye Proteins* / genetics
  • Eye Proteins* / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genome, Insect
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Insulator Elements
  • Microarray Analysis
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Transcription, Genetic*


  • BEAF-32 protein, Drosophila
  • CCCTC-Binding Factor
  • CTCF protein, Drosophila
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Eye Proteins
  • Histones
  • Repressor Proteins
  • su(Hw) protein, Drosophila