The effect ofJIL-1on position-effect variegation is proportional to the total amount of heterochromatin in the genome

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In this study we have taken advantage of recent whole genome sequencing studies that have determined the DNA content in the heterochromatic regions of each Drosophila chromosome to directly correlate the effect on position-effect variegation of a pericentric insertion reporter line, 118E-10 with the total amount of heterochromatic DNA. Heterochromatic DNA levels were manipulated by adding or subtracting a Y chromosome as well as by the difference in the amount of pericentric heterochromatin between the X and Y chromosome. The results showed a direct, linear relationship between the amount of heterochromatic DNA in the genome and the expression of the w marker gene in the 118E-10 pericentric reporter line and that increasing amounts of heterochromatic DNA resulted in increasing amounts of pigment/gene activity. In Drosophila heterochromatic spreading and gene silencing is counteracted by H3S10 phosphorylation by the JIL-1 kinase, and we further demonstrate that the haplo-enhancer effect of JIL-1 is proportional to the amount of total heterochomatin, suggesting that JIL-1's activity is dynamically modulated to achieve a more or less constant balance depending on the levels of heterochromatic factors present.

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