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Author Notes:

Correspondence: Victor G Corces; Email: vcorces@emory.edu; Phone: 404 727 4250; Fax: number 404 727 2880 and Zhaohui S. Qin; Email: zhaohui.qin@emory.edu; Phone: 404 712 9576; Fax: 404 727 1370.

Authors' Contributions: The first two authors contributed equally to this work

Acknowledgments: We would like to thank Drs. Hugo Bellen, Roger Hoskins and Robert Levis for help in collecting the data sets of P element insertions.

We also thank Dr. Hao Wu for help with computational analyses and Dr. Chintong Ong for critical reading and suggestions on the manuscript.


Research Funding:

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institutes of Health under award numbers R01GM035463 to VC and R01HG005119 to ZQ.


  • Chromatin
  • transcription
  • nucleus
  • epigenetics

Gene Density, Transcription and Insulators Contribute to the Partition of the Drosophila Genome into Physical Domains

Journal Title:

Molecular Cell


Volume 48, Number 3


, Pages 471-484

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


The mechanisms responsible for the establishment of physical domains in metazoan chromosomes are poorly understood. Here we find that physical domains in Drosophila chromosomes are demarcated at regions of active transcription and high gene density that are enriched for transcription factors and specific combinations of insulator proteins. Physical domains contain different types of chromatin defined by the presence of specific proteins and epigenetic marks, with active chromatin preferentially located at the borders and silenced chromatin in the interior. Domain boundaries participate in long-range interactions that may contribute to the clustering of regions of active or silenced chromatin in the nucleus. Analysis of transgenes suggests that chromatin is more accessible and permissive to transcription at the borders than inside domains, independent of the presence of active or silencing histone modifications. These results suggest that the higher-order physical organization of chromatin may impose an additional level of regulation over classical epigenetic marks.

Copyright information:

© 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

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