The banded portion of Drosophila melanogaster chromosome 4 exhibits euchromatic and heterochromatic characteristics. Reminiscent of heterochromatin, it contains a high percentage of repetitive elements, does not undergo recombination, and exhibits high levels of HP1 and histone-3 lysine-9 dimethylation. However, in the distal 1.2 Mb, the gene density is typical of euchromatin, and this region is polytene in salivary gland nuclei. Using P-element reporters carrying a copy of hsp70-white, alternative chromatin packaging domains can be distinguished by the eye color phenotype. Mapping studies identified the repetitive element 1360 as a candidate for heterochromatin targeting in the fourth chromosome Hcf region. We report here two new screens using this reporter to look for additional heterochromatin target sites. We confirm that reporter elements within 10 kb of 1360 are usually packaged as heterochromatin; however, heterochromatin packaging occurs in the sv region in the absence of 1360. Analyses of the sequences adjacent to P-element reporters show no simple association between specific repeated elements and transgene expression phenotype on a whole chromosome level. The data require that heterochromatin formation as a whole depends on a more complex pattern of sequence organization rather than the presence of a single sequence element.
ASJC Scopus subject areas