Clustering of <i>Drosophila</i> housekeeping promoters facilitates their expression.


Housekeeping genes of animal genomes cluster in the same chromosomal regions. It has long been suggested that this organization contributes to their steady expression across all the tissues of the organism. Here, we show that the activity of Drosophila housekeeping gene promoters depends on the expression of their neighbors. By measuring the expression of ∼85,000 reporters integrated in Kc167 cells, we identified the best predictors of expression as chromosomal contacts with the promoters and terminators of active genes. Surprisingly, the chromatin composition at the insertion site and the contacts with enhancers were less informative. These results are substantiated by the existence of genomic "paradoxical" domains, rich in euchromatic features and enhancers, but where the reporters are expressed at low level, concomitant with a deficit of interactions with promoters and terminators. This indicates that the proper function of housekeeping genes relies not on contacts with long distance enhancers but on spatial clustering. Overall, our results suggest that spatial proximity between genes increases their expression and that the linear architecture of the Drosophila genome contributes to this effect.

More about this publication

Genome research
  • Volume 27
  • Issue nr. 7
  • Pages 1153-1161
  • Publication date 01-07-2017

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