Several copies of insulator from MDG4 can determine the interaction between positively and negatively acting regulatory elements and promoter of the miniwhite gene of Drosophila melanogaster

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Fine regulation of complex gene loci in higher eukaryotes is realized through the interaction of promoters with enhancers and repressors, which can be located long distance from the promoter regulated. A question arises, what mechanisms determine proper contacts between the regulatory elements over large distances in the genome. It is suggested that the important role in this process is played by a special class of regulatory elements, insulators, which block the interaction of enhancer and promoter, if they are positioned between them. Furthermore, enhancers do not directly inactivate the activities of enhancer and promoter. Nevertheless, an enhancer, isolated from one of the promoters by an insulator, can activate another, not isolated promoter. The best studied insulator of Drosophila melanogaster was found in the 5′ regulatory region of retrotransposon MDG4. It consists of 12 binding sites for the Su(Hw) protein, which is critical for the activity of this insulator. It was demonstrated that Su(Hw) insulator could protect the gene expression from the negative influence of heterochromatin and from repression, induced by the Polycomb group proteins (Pc proteins). In the present study, it was demonstrated that in transgenic lines, two or three copies of the Su(Hw) insulator could determine the interaction of the miniwhite enhancer and Pc dependant silencer with the miniwhite promoter. Thus, it was first demonstrated that insulators could participate in the regulation of the contacts between promoter and functionally opposite elements, responsible for either gene activation, or repression.

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