Elements of the Drosophila Bithorax Complex That Mediate Repression by Polycomb Group Products

Dev Biol. 1993 Jul;158(1):131-44. doi: 10.1006/dbio.1993.1174.

Abstract

The Polycomb (Pc) group genes encode repressors that restrict expression of homeotic genes to precise domains along the anterior-posterior (A-P) axis. We describe germ-line transformation constructs, containing portions of the bxd, iab-2, or iab-3 regulatory regions of the bithorax complex (BX-C), that are controlled by Pc group products in embryos. There are multiple BX-C elements that mediate Pc group control, which we call Pc group response elements (PREs), and they can work when removed from the normal BX-C context. These constructs are each regulated by the genes Polycomb (Pc), extra sex combs (esc), Enhancer of zeste (E[z]), polyhomeotic (ph), Polycomb-like (Pcl), Sex comb on midleg (Scm), Posterior sex combs (Psc), and Additional sex combs (Asx), consistent with multiple Pc group products acting together. Depending upon context, a PRE from the iab-3 region can restrict expression in different A-P positions. Thus, PREs are not specialized for particular parasegments, suggesting that Pc group products do not directly specify A-P boundaries of homeotic expression. Instead, the results support the idea that Pc group products provide stable memory or imprinting of boundaries which are initially specified by gap and pair-rule regulators.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA Mutational Analysis
  • Drosophila / embryology
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genes, Homeobox
  • Genes, Regulator
  • Morphogenesis