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Position-effect variegation in drosophila: a genetic and molecular approach of epigenetic silencing

English title Position-effect variegation in drosophila: a genetic and molecular approach of epigenetic silencing
Applicant Spierer Pierre
Number 112535
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Département de Génétique et Evolution Faculté des Sciences Université de Genève
Institution of higher education University of Geneva - GE
Main discipline Genetics
Start/End 01.04.2006 - 30.09.2009
Approved amount 377'000.00
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Keywords (5)

position effect variegation; epigenetic silencing; heterochromatin; drosophila; molecular genetics

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
The precise control of gene activity is essential for the development, the life and the reproduction of living organisms. One of a number of mechanisms of control of gene activity is the permanent inactivation of chromosomes, or domains of chromosomes. Examples include X-chromosome inactivation and genomic imprinting in mammals, and possibly the control of group of genes determining the architect plan of animals. In the fruitfly Drosophila, we have identified and characterized SU(VAR)3-7 as a protein participating in chromosome silencing. Over-expression ofSU(VAR)3-7 in vivo triggers the formation of heterochromatin (an inactive state of the chromosome). We have also observed that the effect is stronger for the male X chromosome, the chromosome hyper-activated in males for dosage compensation, and that mutant in dosage compensation suppresses the effect of mutants of the gene encoding SU(VAR)3-7. This observation links two phenomena previously viewed as independent. We conclude that SU(VAR)3-7 plays a crucial role in forming the silenced part of the genome by participating in its condensation into inactive heterochromatin, and that this mechanisms interacts with the process equalizing genetic activity between males and females. Fundamental research in epigenetic silencing provides insight in basic genetic mechanisms involved in human diseases, and in particular in cancer.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

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Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
127431 Position-effect variegation in Drosophila: a genetic and molecular approach of epigenetic silencing 01.10.2009 Project funding (Div. I-III)
67944 Position-effect variegation in Drosophila: a genetic and molecular approach of genomic silencing 01.10.2002 Project funding (Div. I-III)

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