Differences in insulator properties revealed by enhancer blocking assays on episomes.

Department of Biochemistry, University of Iowa, College of Medicine, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.
Insulators are genomic elements that define domains of transcriptional autonomy. Although a large number of insulators have been isolated, it is unclear whether these elements function by shared molecular mechanisms. Novel applications of FLP recombinase technology were used to dissect and compare the function of the Drosophila: gypsy and scs insulators. Inter actions between FLP monomers bound to chromosomally integrated FRT sites were unimpeded by either insulator, demonstrating that these insulators do not establish a chromosomal environment capable of disrupting all types of protein-protein interactions. The gypsy insulator blocked enhancer-activated transcription on FLP-generated extra-chromosomal episomes, whereas the scs insulator displayed silencing effects. These data indicate that these insulators differ in the mechanisms used to prevent enhancer function. That the gypsy insulator blocked enhancer-promoter communication within small episomes suggests that these effects may be accomplished without a global reorganization of chromatin structure. Instead, the gypsy insulator may disrupt enhancer-activated transcription by direct interference with transmission of the enhancer signal to the promoter.
Mesh Terms:
Animals, Animals, Genetically Modified, DNA Nucleotidyltransferases, Drosophila, Enhancer Elements, Genetic, Female, Genes, Insect, Male, Models, Genetic, Plasmids, Recombination, Genetic, Transcription, Genetic
EMBO J. Nov. 01, 2000; 19(21);5864-74 [PUBMED:11060037]