roX1 RNA paints the X chromosome of male Drosophila and is regulated by the dosage compensation system

Cell. 1997 Feb 21;88(4):445-57. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(00)81885-1.


The Drosophila roX1 gene is X-linked and produces RNAs that are male-specific, somatic, and preferentially expressed in the central nervous system. These RNAs are retained in the nucleus and lack any significant open reading frame. Although all sexually dimorphic characteristics in Drosophila were thought to be controlled by the sex determination pathway through the gene transformer (tra), the expression of roX1 is independent of tra activity. Instead, the dosage compensation system is necessary and sufficient for the expression of roX1. Consistent with a potential function in dosage compensation, roX1 RNAs localize specifically to the male X chromosome. This localization occurs even when roX1 RNAs are expressed from autosomal locations in X-to-autosome translocations. The novel regulation and subnuclear localization of roX1 RNAs makes them candidates for an RNA component of the dosage compensation machinery.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Blastoderm / physiology
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone*
  • DNA Helicases*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins*
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Dosage*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology
  • Genetic Linkage
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Insect Hormones / genetics
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation / physiology
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • Open Reading Frames / genetics
  • RNA / analysis
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Sex Determination Analysis
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic / physiology
  • X Chromosome*
  • Y Chromosome


  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Insect Hormones
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Sxl protein, Drosophila
  • Tra protein, Drosophila
  • Transcription Factors
  • mle protein, Drosophila
  • msl-2 protein, Drosophila
  • RNA
  • DNA Helicases

Associated data

  • GENBANK/U97114