SU(VAR)3-7, a Drosophila heterochromatin-associated protein and companion of HP1 in the genomic silencing of position-effect variegation

EMBO J. 1997 Sep 1;16(17):5280-8. doi: 10.1093/emboj/16.17.5280.


An increase in the dose of the Su(var)3-7 locus of Drosophila melanogaster enhances the genomic silencing of position-effect variegation caused by centromeric heterochromatin. Here we show that the product of Su(var)3-7 is a nuclear protein which associates with pericentromeric heterochromatin at interphase, whether on diploid chromosomes from embryonic nuclei or on polytene chromosomes from larval salivary glands. The protein also associates with the partially heterochromatic chromosome 4. As these phenotypes and localizations resemble those described by others for the Su(var)2-5 locus and its heterochromatin-associated protein HP1, the presumed co-operation of the two proteins was tested further. The effect of the dose of Su(var)3-7 on silencing of a number of variegating rearrangements and insertions is strikingly similar to the effect of the dose of Su(var)2-5 reported by others. In addition, the two loci interact genetically, and the two proteins co-immunoprecipitate from nuclear extracts. The results suggest that SU(VAR)3-7 and HP1 co-operate in building the genomic silencing associated with heterochromatin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning / genetics*
  • Cell Compartmentation
  • Cell Division
  • Centromere / chemistry
  • Chromobox Protein Homolog 5
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / isolation & purification*
  • Drosophila / embryology
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Gene Dosage
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Heterochromatin / chemistry*
  • Insect Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Larva
  • Nuclear Proteins / isolation & purification*
  • Precipitin Tests
  • Repressor Proteins / isolation & purification*


  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • Heterochromatin
  • Insect Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Repressor Proteins
  • Chromobox Protein Homolog 5