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Accession IconGSE48347

C. elegans mixed stage embryo total RNA levels by microarray: L4440 RNAi, smo-1 RNAi and sdc-2 (y93)+RNAi

Organism Icon Caenorhabditis elegans
Sample Icon 9 Downloadable Samples
Technology Badge Icon Affymetrix C. elegans Genome Array (celegans)

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The essential process of dosage compensation equalizes X-chromosome gene expression between C. elegans XO males and XX hermaphrodites through a dosage compensation complex (DCC) that resembles condensin. The DCC binds to both X chromosomes of hermaphrodites to repress transcription by half. Here we show that post-translational modification by the SUMO conjugation pathway is essential for sex-specific assembly of the DCC onto X. Depletion of the SUMO peptide in vivo severely disrupts binding of particular DCC subunits and causes changes in X-linked gene expression similar to those caused by disrupting genes encoding DCC subunits. Three DCC subunits are themselves SUMOylated, and depletion of SUMO preferentially reduces their binding to X, suggesting that SUMOylation of DCC subunits is essential for robust association with X. DCC SUMOylation is triggered by the signal that initiates DCC assembly onto X. The initial step of assembly--binding of X-targeting factors to recruitment sites on X (rex sites)--is independent of SUMOylation, but robust binding of the complete complex requires SUMOylation. SUMOylated DCC subunits are enriched at rex sites, and SUMOylation enhances interactions between X-targeting factors and condensin subunits that facilitate DCC binding beyond the low level achieved without SUMOylation. DCC subunits also participate in condensin complexes essential for chromosome segregation, but their SUMOylation occurs only in the context of the DCC. Our results reinforce a newly emerging theme in which multiple proteins of a complex are SUMOylated in response to a specific stimulus, leading to accelerated complex formation and enhanced function.
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