[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Eukaryotic genomes are packaged in two basic forms, euchromatin and heterochromatin. We have examined the composition and organization of Drosophila melanogaster heterochromatin in different cell types using ChIP-array analysis of histone modifications and chromosomal proteins. As anticipated, the pericentric heterochromatin and chromosome 4 are on average enriched for the "silencing" marks H3K9me2, H3K9me3, HP1a, and SU(VAR)3-9, and are generally depleted for marks associated with active transcription. The locations of the euchromatin-heterochromatin borders identified by these marks are similar in animal tissues and most cell lines, although the amount of heterochromatin is variable in some cell lines. Combinatorial analysis of chromatin patterns reveals distinct profiles for euchromatin, pericentric heterochromatin, and the 4th chromosome. Both silent and active protein-coding genes in heterochromatin display complex patterns of chromosomal proteins and histone modifications; a majority of the active genes exhibit both "activation" marks (e.g., H3K4me3 and H3K36me3) and "silencing" marks (e.g., H3K9me2 and HP1a). The hallmark of active genes in heterochromatic domains appears to be a loss of H3K9 methylation at the transcription start site. We also observe complex epigenomic profiles of intergenic regions, repeated transposable element (TE) sequences, and genes in the heterochromatic extensions. An unexpectedly large fraction of sequences in the euchromatic chromosome arms exhibits a heterochromatic chromatin signature, which differs in size, position, and impact on gene expression among cell types. We conclude that patterns of heterochromatin/euchromatin packaging show greater complexity and plasticity than anticipated. This comprehensive analysis provides a foundation for future studies of gene activity and chromosomal functions that are influenced by or dependent upon heterochromatin.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To gain insight into how genomic information is translated into cellular and developmental programs, the Drosophila model organism Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (modENCODE) project is comprehensively mapping transcripts, histone modifications,
chromosomal proteins, transcription factors, replication proteins and intermediates, and nucleosome properties across a developmental
time course and in multiple cell lines. We have generated more than 700 data sets and discovered protein-coding, noncoding,
RNA regulatory, replication, and chromatin elements, more than tripling the annotated portion of the Drosophila genome. Correlated activity patterns of these elements reveal a functional regulatory network, which predicts putative new
functions for genes, reveals stage- and tissue-specific regulators, and enables gene-expression prediction. Our results provide
a foundation for directed experimental and computational studies in Drosophila and related species and also a model for systematic data integration toward comprehensive genomic and functional annotation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Genome sequences for most metazoans and plants are incomplete because of the presence of repeated DNA in the heterochromatin. The heterochromatic regions of Drosophila melanogaster contain 20 million bases (Mb) of sequence amenable to mapping, sequence assembly, and finishing. We describe the generation of 15 Mb of finished or improved heterochromatic sequence with the use of available clone resources and assembly methods. We also constructed a bacterial artificial chromosome-based physical map that spans 13 Mb of the pericentromeric heterochromatin and a cytogenetic map that positions 11 Mb in specific chromosomal locations. We have approached a complete assembly and mapping of the nonsatellite component of Drosophila heterochromatin. The strategy we describe is also applicable to generating substantially more information about heterochromatin in other species, including humans.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Heterochromatin is a major component of higher eukaryotic genomes, but progress in understanding the molecular structure and composition of heterochromatin has lagged behind the production of relatively complete euchromatic genome sequences. The introduction of single-copy molecular-genetic entry points can greatly facilitate structure and sequence analysis of heterochromatic regions that are rich in repeated DNA. In this study, we report the isolation of 502 new P-element insertions into Drosophila melanogaster centric heterochromatin, generated in nine different genetic screens that relied on mosaic silencing (position-effect variegation, or PEV) of the yellow gene present in the transposon. The highest frequencies of recovery of variegating insertions were observed when centric insertions were used as the source for mobilization. We propose that the increased recovery of variegating insertions from heterochromatic starting sites may result from the physical proximity of different heterochromatic regions in germline nuclei or from the association of mobilizing elements with heterochromatin proteins. High frequencies of variegating insertions were also recovered when a potent suppressor of PEV (an extra Y chromosome) was present in both the mobilization and selection generations, presumably due to the effects of chromatin structure on P-element mobilization, insertion, and phenotypic selection. Finally, fewer variegating insertions were recovered after mobilization in females, in comparison to males, which may reflect differences in heterochromatin structure in the female and male germlines. FISH localization of a subset of the insertions confirmed that 98% of the variegating lines contain heterochromatic insertions and that these schemes produce a broader distribution of insertion sites. The results of these schemes have identified the most efficient methods for generating centric heterochromatin P insertions. In addition, the large collection of insertions produced by these screens provides molecular-genetic entry points for mapping, sequencing, and functional analysis of Drosophila heterochromatin.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Most eukaryotic genomes include a substantial repeat-rich fraction termed heterochromatin, which is concentrated in centric and telomeric regions. The repetitive nature of heterochromatic sequence makes it difficult to assemble and analyze. To better understand the heterochromatic component of the Drosophila melanogaster genome, we characterized and annotated portions of a whole-genome shotgun sequence assembly.
WGS3, an improved whole-genome shotgun assembly, includes 20.7 Mb of draft-quality sequence not represented in the Release 3 sequence spanning the euchromatin. We annotated this sequence using the methods employed in the re-annotation of the Release 3 euchromatic sequence. This analysis predicted 297 protein-coding genes and six non-protein-coding genes, including known heterochromatic genes, and regions of similarity to known transposable elements. Bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC)-based fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis was used to correlate the genomic sequence with the cytogenetic map in order to refine the genomic definition of the centric heterochromatin; on the basis of our cytological definition, the annotated Release 3 euchromatic sequence extends into the centric heterochromatin on each chromosome arm.
Whole-genome shotgun assembly produced a reliable draft-quality sequence of a significant part of the Drosophila heterochromatin. Annotation of this sequence defined the intron-exon structures of 30 known protein-coding genes and 267 protein-coding gene models. The cytogenetic mapping suggests that an additional 150 predicted genes are located in heterochromatin at the base of the Release 3 euchromatic sequence. Our analysis suggests strategies for improving the sequence and annotation of the heterochromatic portions of the Drosophila and other complex genomes.