Lack of the drosophila BEAF insulator proteins alters regulation of genes in the Antennapedia complex

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In a screen based on a rough eye phenotype caused by a dominant negative form of the BEAF-32A and BEAF-32B insulator proteins, we previously identified 17 proteins that genetically interact with BEAF. Eleven of these are developmental transcription factors, seven of which are encoded by the Antennapedia complex (ANT-C). While investigating potential reasons for the genetic interactions, we obtained evidence that BEAF plays a role in the regulation of genes in the ANT-C. BEAF does not localize near the transcription start sites of any genes in the ANT-C, indicating that BEAF does not locally affect regulation of these genes. Although BEAF affects chromatin structure or dynamics, we also found no evidence for a general change in binding to polytene chromosomes in the absence of BEAF. However, because we were unable to detect proteins encoded by ANT-C genes in salivary glands, the DREF and MLE proteins were used as proxies to examine binding. This does not rule out limited effects at particular binding sites or the possibility that BEAF might directly interact with certain transcription factors to affect their binding. In contrast, the embryonic expression levels and patterns of four examined ANT-C genes were altered (bcd, Dfd, ftz, pb). A control gene, Dref, was not affected. A full understanding of the regulation of ANT-C genes during development will have to take the role of BEAF into account. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.

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Molecular Genetics and Genomics

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