The scs and scs' insulator elements impart a cis requirement on enhancer-promoter interactions

Mol Cell. 1998 Jan;1(2):301-8. doi: 10.1016/s1097-2765(00)80030-1.


The Xenopus rRNA enhancer activates its cognate promoter when the two elements are placed on opposite rings of dimeric catenanes. Here we show that when scs elements flank either the enhancer or promoter in catenanes, the enhancer cannot activate the promoter on the ring in trans. A series of catenanes containing different permutations of the insulators, enhancer, and promoters shows that when insulators are present, the enhancer is permitted to a activate the promoter only when both elements are on the same piece of DNA with no intervening insulator. These results suggest that insulators have the potential to block enhancer-promoter interactions between chromosomes and between independent topological domains within a chromosome.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromosomes / physiology
  • Chromosomes / ultrastructure
  • Enhancer Elements, Genetic / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genetic Complementation Test
  • Microinjections
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Oocytes / physiology
  • Plasmids
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics*
  • RNA, Messenger / chemistry
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / pharmacology
  • RNA, Ribosomal / chemistry
  • RNA, Ribosomal / genetics
  • Transcriptional Activation / genetics*
  • Xenopus


  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Ribosomal