Loss of Insulator Activity by Paired Su(Hw) Chromatin Insulators

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Science  19 Jan 2001:
Vol. 291, Issue 5503, pp. 495-498
DOI: 10.1126/science.291.5503.495

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Chromatin insulators are regulatory elements that block the action of transcriptional enhancers when interposed between enhancer and promoter. The Drosophila Suppressor of Hairy wing [Su(Hw)] protein binds the Su(Hw) insulator and prevents enhancer-promoter interaction by a mechanism that is not understood. We show that when two copies of the Su(Hw) insulator element, instead of a single one, are inserted between enhancer and promoter, insulator activity is neutralized and the enhancer-promoter interaction may instead be facilitated. This paradoxical phenomenon could be explained by interactions between protein complexes bound at the insulators.

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