Targeting of MOF, a putative histone acetyl transferase, to the X chromosome of Drosophila melanogaster

Dev Genet. 1998;22(1):56-64. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1520-6408(1998)22:1<56::AID-DVG6>3.0.CO;2-6.


Dosage compensation ensures that males with a single X chromosome have the same amount of most X-linked gene products as females with two X chromosomes. In Drosophila, this equalization is achieved by a twofold enhancement of the level of transcription of the X in males relative to each X chromosome in females. The products of at least five genes, maleless (mle), male-specific lethal 1, 2, and 3 (msl-1, msl-2, msl-3) and males absent on the first (mof), are necessary for dosage compensation. The proteins produced by these genes form a complex that is preferentially associated with numerous sites on the X chromosome in somatic cells of males but not of females. Binding of the dosage compensation complex to the X chromosome is correlated with a significant increase in the presence of a specific histone isoform, histone 4 acetylated at lysine 16, on this chromosome. Experimental results and sequence analysis suggest that the mof gene encodes an acetyl transferase that plays a direct role in the specific histone acetylation associated with dosage compensation. Recently, RNA transcripts encoded by at least two different genes have also been found associated with the X chromosome in males. We have studied the role played by the various components of the complex in the targeting of MOF to the X chromosome. To this end, we have used indirect cytoimmunofluorescence to monitor the binding of these components in males carrying complete or partial loss-of-function mutations as well as in XX individuals in which formation of the dosage compensation complex has been induced by genetic means.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acetyltransferases / genetics*
  • Animals
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone*
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • DNA Helicases*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins*
  • Dosage Compensation, Genetic
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / enzymology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Genes, Insect*
  • Histone Acetyltransferases
  • Male
  • Nuclear Proteins*
  • RNA Nucleotidyltransferases / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • X Chromosome*


  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • mle protein, Drosophila
  • Acetyltransferases
  • Histone Acetyltransferases
  • mof protein, Drosophila
  • RNA Nucleotidyltransferases
  • DNA Helicases