A sequence motif within chromatin entry sites directs MSL establishment on the Drosophila X chromosome.

Cell. 2008 Aug 22;134(4):599-609. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2008.06.033.


The Drosophila MSL complex associates with active genes specifically on the male X chromosome to acetylate histone H4 at lysine 16 and increase expression approximately 2-fold. To date, no DNA sequence has been discovered to explain the specificity of MSL binding. We hypothesized that sequence-specific targeting occurs at "chromatin entry sites," but the majority of sites are sequence independent. Here we characterize 150 potential entry sites by ChIP-chip and ChIP-seq and discover a GA-rich MSL recognition element (MRE). The motif is only slightly enriched on the X chromosome ( approximately 2-fold), but this is doubled when considering its preferential location within or 3' to active genes (>4-fold enrichment). When inserted on an autosome, a newly identified site can direct local MSL spreading to flanking active genes. These results provide strong evidence for both sequence-dependent and -independent steps in MSL targeting of dosage compensation to the male X chromosome.


Alekseyenko AA, Peng S, Larschan E, Gorchakov AA, Lee OK, Kharchenko P, McGrath SD, Wang CI, Mardis ER, Park PJ, Kuroda MI.

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