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Accession IconGSE3990

roX RNAs are required for up-regulation of male X chromosome in Drosophila.

Organism Icon Drosophila melanogaster
Sample Icon 6 Downloadable Samples
Technology Badge Icon Affymetrix Drosophila Genome 2.0 Array (drosophila2)

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Drosophila males double transcription of their single X chromosome to equalize X-linked gene expression with females, which carry two X chromosomes. Increased transcription requires the Male-Specific Lethal (MSL) complex. One of the primary functions of the MSL complex is thought to be enrichment of H4Ac16 on the male X chromosome, a modification linked to elevated transcription. The roX1 and roX2 RNAs are essential but redundant components of the MSL complex. Simultaneous removal of both roX RNAs reduces MSL X-localization and leads to ectopic binding of these proteins at autosomal sites and to the chromocenter. Some H4Ac16 accumulates at these ectopic sites in roX1- roX2- males, suggesting the possibility of increased expression. The global effect of roX mutations on gene expression was measured by microarray analysis. We found that expression of the X chromosome was decreased by 26% in roX1- roX2- male larvae, supporting the involvement of roX RNAs in the up-regulation of X-linked genes. This finding is broadly comparable to reports of reduced X chromosome expression following msl2 RNAi knockdown in S2 cells. In spite of strong MSL binding and H4Ac16 accumulation at autosomal sites in roX1- roX2- males, enhanced gene expression could not be detected at these sites by microarray analysis or reverse northern blotting. Thus, failure to compensate X-linked genes, rather than inappropriate up-regulation of autosomal genes at ectopic sites of MSL binding, appears to cause male lethality upon loss of roX RNAs.
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