Regulation of the Different Chromatin States of Autosomes and X Chromosomes in the Germ Line of C. elegans

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Science  21 Jun 2002:
Vol. 296, Issue 5576, pp. 2235-2238
DOI: 10.1126/science.1070790

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The Maternal-Effect Sterile (MES) proteins are essential for germline viability in Caenorhabditis elegans. Here, we report that MES-4, a SET-domain protein, binds to the autosomes but not to the X chromosomes. MES-2, MES-3, and MES-6 are required to exclude MES-4 and markers of active chromatin from the X chromosomes. These findings strengthen the emerging view that in the C. elegansgerm line, the X chromosomes differ in chromatin state from the autosomes and are generally silenced. We propose that all four MES proteins participate in X-chromosome silencing, and that the role of MES-4 is to exclude repressors from the autosomes, thus enabling efficient repression of the Xs.

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