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Su(z)12, a novel Drosophila Polycomb group gene that is conserved in vertebrates and plants.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Molecular Biology (Faculty of Science and Technology).
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Molecular Biology (Faculty of Science and Technology).
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2001 (English)In: Development, ISSN 0950-1991, Vol. 128, no 17, 3371-9 p.Article in journal (Other academic) Published
Abstract [en]

In both Drosophila and vertebrates, spatially restricted expression of HOX genes is controlled by the Polycomb group (PcG) repressors. Here we characterize a novel Drosophila PcG gene, Suppressor of zeste 12 (Su(z)12). Su(z)12 mutants exhibit very strong homeotic transformations and Su(z)12 function is required throughout development to maintain the repressed state of HOX genes. Unlike most other PcG mutations, Su(z)12 mutations are strong suppressors of position-effect variegation (PEV), suggesting that Su(z)12 also functions in heterochromatin-mediated repression. Furthermore, Su(z)12 function is required for germ cell development. The Su(z)12 protein is highly conserved in vertebrates and is related to the Arabidopsis proteins EMF2, FIS2 and VRN2. Notably, EMF2 is a repressor of floral homeotic genes. These results suggest that at least some of the regulatory machinery that controls homeotic gene expression is conserved between animals and plants.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2001. Vol. 128, no 17, 3371-9 p.
Keyword [en]
Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Arabidopsis/genetics, Conserved Sequence, Drosophila Proteins, Drosophila melanogaster/embryology/*genetics, Female, Gene Expression, Genes; Homeobox, Genes; Insect, Humans, Insect Proteins/*genetics/physiology, Male, Molecular Sequence Data, Mutagenesis, Sequence Homology; Amino Acid, Vertebrates/genetics
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-17039PubMedID: 11546753OAI: diva2:156712
Available from: 2007-10-26 Created: 2007-10-26 Last updated: 2012-05-10Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Suppressor of zeste 12, a Polycomb group gene in Drosophila melanogaster; one piece in the epigenetic puzzle
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Suppressor of zeste 12, a Polycomb group gene in Drosophila melanogaster; one piece in the epigenetic puzzle
2003 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In multicellular organisms all cells in one individual have an identical genotype, and yet their bodies consist of many and very different tissues and thus many different cell types. Somehow there must be a difference in how genes are interpreted. So, there must be signals that tell the genes when and where to be active and inactive, respectively. In some instances a specific an expression pattern (active or inactive) is epigenetic; it is established and maintained throughout multiple rounds of cell divisions. In the developing Drosophila embryo, the proper expression pattern of e.g. the homeotic genes Abd-B and Ubx is to be kept active in the posterior part and silenced in the anterior. Properly silenced homeotic genes are crucial for the correct segmentation pattern of the fly and the Polycomb group (Pc-G) proteins are vital for maintaining this type of stable repression.

As part of this thesis, Suppressor of zeste 12 (Su(z)12) is characterized as a Drosophila Pc-G gene. Mutations in the gene cause widespread misexpression of several homeotic genes in embryos and larvae. Results show that the silencing of the homeotic genes Abd-B and Ubx, probably is mediated via physical binding of SU(Z)12 to Polycomb Response Elements in the BX-C. Su(z)12 mutations are strong suppressors of position-effect-variegation and the SU(Z)12 protein binds weakly to the heterochromatic centromeric region. These results indicate that SU(Z)12 has a function in heterochromatin-mediated repression, which is an unusual feature for a Pc-G protein. The structure of the Su(z)12 gene was determined and the deduced protein contains a C2-H2 zinc finger domain, several nuclear localization signals, and a region, the VEFS box, with high homology to mammalian and plant homologues. Su(z)12 was originally isolated in a screen for modifiers of the zeste-white interaction and I present results that suggests that this effect is mediated through an interaction between Su(z)12 and zeste. I also show that Su(z)12 interact genetically with other Pc-G mutants and that the SU(Z)12 protein binds more than 100 euchromatic bands on polytene chromosomes. I also present results showing that SU(Z)12 is a subunit of two different E(Z)/ESC embryonic silencing complexes, one 1MDa and one 600 kDa complex, where the larger complex also contains PCL and RPD3.

In conclusion, results presented in this thesis show that the recently identified Pc-G gene, Su(z)12, is of vital importance for correct maintenance of silencing of the developmentally important homeotic genes.

52 p.
Genetics, Drosophila melanogaster, epigenetic, homeotic genes, Polycomb group, PRE, heterochromatin, Suppressor of zeste 12, chromatin silencing, Genetik
National Category
Medical Genetics
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-98 (URN)91-7305-437-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2003-05-30, Major Groove, Molekylärbilogi, Byggnad 6L, Umeå, 10:00
Available from: 2003-09-10 Created: 2003-09-10 Last updated: 2012-05-10Bibliographically approved

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Birve, AnnaLarsson, JanRasmuson-Lestander, Åsa
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