An analysis of transvection at the yellow locus of Drosophila melanogaster

Genetics. 1999 Feb;151(2):633-51. doi: 10.1093/genetics/151.2.633.


Studies of a wide variety of organisms have shown that homologous sequences can exert a significant impact on each other, resulting in changes in gene sequence, gene expression, chromatin structure, and global chromosome architecture. Our work has focused on transvection, a process that can cause genes to be sensitive to the proximity of a homologue. Transvection is seen at the yellow gene of Drosophila, where it mediates numerous cases of intragenic complementation. In this article, we describe two approaches that have characterized the process of transvection at yellow. The first entailed a screen for mutations that support intragenic complementation at yellow. The second involved the analysis of 53 yellow alleles, obtained from a variety of sources, with respect to complementation, molecular structure, and transcriptional competence. Our data suggest two ways in which transvection may be regulated at yellow: (1) a transcriptional mechanism, whereby the ability of an allele to support transvection is influenced by its transcriptional competency, and (2) a structural mechanism, whereby the pairing of structurally dissimilar homologues results in conformational changes that affect gene expression.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Genes, Insect*
  • Insect Proteins / genetics*
  • Sequence Homology


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Insect Proteins
  • y protein, Drosophila