Drosophila Dosage Compensation Involves Enhanced Pol II Recruitment to Male X-Linked Promoters

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Science  19 Jul 2012:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1221428

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Through hyper-acetylation of histone H4 lysine 16 (H4K16), the Male Specific Lethal (MSL) complex in Drosophila approximately doubles transcription from the single male X chromosome in order to match X-linked expression in females and expression from diploid autosomes. By obtaining accurate measurements of RNA polymerase II (Pol II)–occupancies and short promoter-proximal RNA-production, we report a consistent, genome-scale increase in Pol II activity at the promoters of male X-linked genes. Moreover, enhanced Pol II recruitment to male X-linked promoters is largely dependent on the MSL complex. These observations provide insights into how global modulation of chromatin structure by histone acetylation contributes to the precise control of Pol II function.

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