The effect of chromosomal position on the expression of the Drosophila xanthine dehydrogenase gene

Cell. 1983 Aug;34(1):47-57. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(83)90135-6.


Thirty-six isogenic D. melanogaster strains that differed only in the chromosomal location of a 7.2 or an 8.1 kb DNA segment containing the (autosomal) rosy gene were constructed by P-element-mediated gene transfer. Since the flies were homozygous for a rosy- allele, rosy gene function in these indicated the influence of flanking sequences on gene expression. The tissue distribution of XDH activity in all the strains was normal. Each line exhibited a characteristic level of adult XDH-specific activity. The majority of these values were close to wild-type levels; however, the total variation in specific activity among the lines was nearly fivefold. Thus position effects influence expression of the rosy gene quantitatively but do not detectably alter tissue specificity. X-linked rosy insertions were expressed on average 1.6 times more activity in males than in females. Hence the gene acquires at least partial dosage compensation upon insertion into the X chromosome.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromosomes / physiology*
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Dosage Compensation, Genetic
  • Drosophila melanogaster / enzymology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Ketone Oxidoreductases / genetics*
  • Tissue Distribution
  • Transformation, Genetic
  • X Chromosome
  • Xanthine Dehydrogenase / genetics*
  • Xanthine Dehydrogenase / metabolism


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Xanthine Dehydrogenase
  • Ketone Oxidoreductases