Recruitment and Spreading of the C. elegans Dosage Compensation Complex Along X Chromosomes

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Science  20 Feb 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5661, pp. 1182-1185
DOI: 10.1126/science.1092938

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To achieve X-chromosome dosage compensation, organisms must distinguish X chromosomes from autosomes. We identified multiple, cis-acting regions that recruit the Caenorhabditis elegans dosage compensation complex (DCC) through a search for regions of X that bind the complex when detached from X. The DCC normally assembles along the entire X chromosome, but not all detached regions recruit the complex, despite having genes known to be dosage compensated on the native X. Thus, the DCC binds first to recruitment sites, then spreads to neighboring X regions to accomplish chromosome-wide gene repression. From a large chromosomal domain, we defined a 793–base pair fragment that functions in vivo as an X-recognition element to recruit the DCC.

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