Dosage compensation in flies and worms: the ups and downs of X-chromosome regulation

Curr Opin Genet Dev. 1998 Apr;8(2):179-84. doi: 10.1016/s0959-437x(98)80139-1.


Dosage compensation ensures that individuals with a single X chromosome have the same amount of most X-linked gene products as those with two. In Drosophila, this equalization is achieved by a two-fold enhancement of the level of transcription of the X in males (XY) relative to each X chromosome in females (XX). In Caenorhabditis, equalization of X-linked gene products between hermaphrodites (XX) and males (XO) is achieved by decreasing the activity of genes in the former. These two different solutions to the common problem of unequal dosage of X-linked genes in different sexes provide invaluable paradigms for the study of gene regulation at the level of chromatin remodeling.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics*
  • DNA Polymerase II / metabolism
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Dosage Compensation, Genetic*
  • Down-Regulation
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Humans
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism
  • X Chromosome


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • msl-1 protein, Drosophila
  • msl-2 protein, Drosophila
  • DNA Polymerase II