Structural and developmental dynamics of Matrix associated regions in Drosophila melanogaster genome

BMC Genomics. 2022 Oct 25;23(1):725. doi: 10.1186/s12864-022-08944-4.


Background: Eukaryotic genome is compartmentalized into structural and functional domains. One of the concepts of higher order organization of chromatin posits that the DNA is organized in constrained loops that behave as independent functional domains. Nuclear Matrix (NuMat), a ribo-proteinaceous nucleoskeleton, provides the structural basis for this organization. DNA sequences located at base of the loops are known as the Matrix Attachment Regions (MARs). NuMat relates to multiple nuclear processes and is partly cell type specific in composition. It is a biochemically defined structure and several protocols have been used to isolate the NuMat where some of the steps have been critically evaluated. These sequences play an important role in genomic organization it is imperative to know their dynamics during development and differentiation.

Results: Here we look into the dynamics of MARs when the preparation process is varied and during embryonic development of D. melanogaster. A subset of MARs termed as "Core-MARs" present abundantly in pericentromeric heterochromatin, are constant unalterable anchor points as they associate with NuMat through embryonic development and are independent of the isolation procedure. Euchromatic MARs are dynamic and reflect the transcriptomic profile of the cell. New MARs are generated by nuclear stabilization, and during development, mostly at paused RNA polymerase II promoters. Paused Pol II MARs depend on RNA transcripts for NuMat association.

Conclusions: Our data reveals the role of MARs in functionally dynamic nucleus and contributes to the current understanding of nuclear architecture in genomic context.

Keywords: Chromatin organization; Matrix attachment regions; Nuclear matrix.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin / genetics
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Drosophila melanogaster* / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster* / metabolism
  • Heterochromatin* / metabolism
  • Nuclear Matrix / chemistry
  • Nuclear Matrix / genetics
  • Nuclear Matrix / metabolism
  • RNA / metabolism
  • RNA Polymerase II / metabolism


  • Heterochromatin
  • RNA Polymerase II
  • Chromatin
  • DNA
  • RNA