Immunostaining of Drosophila polytene chromosomes to investigate recruitment of chromatin-binding proteins.
ABSTRACT Gene transcription is a complex process that involves a large number of proteins. These proteins can be brought to their target genes by a variety of different mechanisms: many transcription factors interact with specific DNA sequences in promoters or enhancers, several epigenetic regulators bind histones bearing specific modifications, elongation factors and some RNA processing factors bind to the transcribing RNA polymerase, and other factors interact directly with nascent transcripts or noncoding RNA. Immunostaining of Drosophila polytene chromosomes allows the genome-wide localization of factors involved at different stages of transcriptional regulation. In this chapter, we present protocols that adapt the general technique to probe different recruitment mechanisms employed by these factors, including specific interactions with phosphorylated RNA polymerase II and RNA-mediated chromatin associations.
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ABSTRACT: By a conserved cellular differentiation process, spermatogenesis leads to formation of haploid sperm for successful reproduction. In Drosophila and in mammals, post-meiotic spermatid differentiation depends on several translationally repressed and stored mRNAs that are often expressed exclusively in the testis through a cell type specific transcriptional program. In Drosophila, the mRNAs of proteins required for post-meiotic chromatin reorganisation, like ProtB and Mst77F, are transcribed in meiotic spermatocytes and subjected to translational repression for days. Transcription of many of these translationally repressed mRNAs depends on testis-specific homologs of TATA box binding protein-associated factors (tTAFs). Here, we identified the testis-specific bromodomain protein, tBRD-1, that is only expressed in primary spermatocytes. Bromodomain proteins are able to recognise and bind acetylated histones and non-histone proteins. We generated tbrd-1 mutant flies and observed that function of tBRD-1 is required for male fertility. tBRD-1 partially colocalised with tTAFs, TAF1 and Polycomb to a Fibrillarin-deficient region within the spermatocyte nucleolus. The nucleolar localisation of tBRD-1 depended on tTAF function but not the other way round. Further, we could show that ectopically expressed tBRD-1-eGFP is able to bind to the interbands of polytene chromosomes. By inhibitor treatment of cultured testis we observed that sub-cellular localisation of tBRD-1 may depend on the acetylation status of primary spermatocytes.06/2012; 1(6):597-606. DOI:10.1242/bio.20121255
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ABSTRACT: The Drosophila Hindsight (hnt) gene encodes a C2H2-type Zinc-finger protein, HNT, that plays multiple developmental roles including control of embryonic germ band retraction and regulation of retinal cell fate and morphogenesis. While the developmental functions of the human HNT homolog, RREB-1, are unknown, it has been shown to function as a transcriptional modulator of several tumor suppressor genes. Here we investigate HNT's functional motifs, target genes and its regulatory abilities. We show that the C-terminal region of HNT, containing the last five of its 14 Zinc fingers, binds in vitro to DNA elements very similar to those identified for RREB-1. We map HNT's in vivo binding sites on salivary gland polytene chromosomes and define, at high resolution, where HNT is bound to two target genes, hnt itself and nervy (nvy). Data from both loss-of-function and over-expression experiments show that HNT attenuates the transcription of these two targets in a tissue-specific manner. RREB-1, when expressed in Drosophila, binds to the same polytene chromosome sites as HNT, attenuates expression of the hnt and nvy genes, and rescues the germ band retraction phenotype. HNT's ninth Zinc finger has degenerated or been lost in the vertebrate lineage. We show that a HNT protein mutant for this finger can also attenuate target gene expression and rescue germ band retraction. Thus HNT and RREB-1 are functional homologs at the level of DNA binding, transcriptional regulation and developmental control.Differentiation 01/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.diff.2013.12.001 · 2.84 Impact Factor