Transcription rate of noncoding roX1 RNA controls local spreading of the Drosophila MSL chromatin remodeling complex.
ABSTRACT: The dosage compensation complex in Drosophila is composed of at least five MSL proteins and two noncoding roX RNAs that bind hundreds of sites along the single male X chromosome. The roX RNAs are transcribed from X-linked genes and their RNA products "paint" the male X. The roX RNAs and bound MSL proteins can spread in cis from sites of roX transcription, but the mechanism controlling spreading is unknown. Here we find that cis spreading from autosomal roX1 transgenes is coupled to the level of roX transcription. Low to moderate transcription favors, and vigorous transcription abolishes local spreading. We constructed a roX1 minigene one third the size of wild type as a starting point for mutagenesis. This allowed us to test which evolutionarily conserved motifs were required for activity. One short repeat element shared between roX1 and roX2 was found to be particularly important. When all copies were deleted, the RNA was inactive and unstable, while extra copies seem to promote local spreading of the MSL complex from sites of roX1 synthesis. We propose that assembly of the MSL proteins onto the extreme 3' region of elongating roX1 transcripts determines whether the MSL complex spreads in cis.
Project description:Most genes along the male single X chromosome in Drosophila are hypertranscribed about two-fold relative to each of the two female X chromosomes. This is accomplished by the MSL (male-specific lethal) complex that acetylates histone H4 at lysine 16. The MSL complex contains two large noncoding RNAs, roX1 (RNA on X) and roX2, that help target chromatin modifying enzymes to the X. The roX RNAs are functionally redundant but differ in size, sequence, and transcriptional control. We wanted to find out how roX1 production is regulated. Ectopic DC can be induced in wild-type (roX1(+) roX2(+)) females if we provide a heterologous source of MSL2. However, in the absence of roX2, we found that roX1 expression failed to come on reliably. Using an in situ hybridization probe that is specific only to endogenous roX1, we found that expression was restored if we introduced either roX2 or a truncated but functional version of roX1. This shows that pre-existing roX RNA is required to positively autoregulate roX1 expression. We also observed massive cis spreading of the MSL complex from the site of roX1 transcription at its endogenous location on the X chromosome. We propose that retention of newly assembled MSL complex around the roX gene is needed to drive sustained transcription and that spreading into flanking chromatin contributes to the X chromosome targeting specificity. Finally, we found that the gene encoding the key male-limited protein subunit, msl2, is transcribed predominantly during DNA replication. This suggests that new MSL complex is made as the chromatin template doubles. We offer a model describing how the production of roX1 and msl2, two key components of the MSL complex, are coordinated to meet the dosage compensation demands of the male cell.
Project description:In Drosophila, dosage compensation is controlled by the male-specific lethal (MSL) complex consisting of at least five proteins and two noncoding RNAs, roX1 and roX2. The roX RNAs function in targeting MSL complex to the X chromosome, and roX transgenes can nucleate spreading of the MSL complex into flanking chromatin when inserted on an autosome. An MSL-binding site (DHS, DNaseI hypersensitive site) has been identified in each roX gene. Here, we investigate the functions of the DHS using transgenic deletion analyses and reporter assays. We find that MSL interaction with the DHS counteracts constitutive repression at roX1, resulting in male-specific expression of roX1 RNA. Surprisingly, the DHS is not required for initiation of cis spreading of MSL complex, instead local transcription of roX RNAs correlates with extensive spreading.
Project description:Despite differences in size and sequence, the two noncoding roX1 and roX2 RNAs are functionally redundant for dosage compensation of the Drosophila melanogaster male X chromosome. Consistent with functional conservation, we found that roX RNAs of distant Drosophila species could complement D. melanogaster roX mutants despite low homology. Deletion of a conserved predicted stem-loop structure in roX2, containing a short GUb (GUUNUACG box) in its 3' stem, resulted in a defect in histone H4K16 acetylation on the X chromosome in spite of apparently normal localization of the MSL complex. Two copies of the GUb sequence, newly termed the "roX box," were functionally redundant in roX2, as mutants in a single roX box had no phenotype, but double mutants showed reduced H4K16 acetylation. Interestingly, mutation of two of three roX boxes in the 3' end of roX1 RNA also reduced H4K16 acetylation. Finally, fusion of roX1 sequences containing a roX box restored function to a roX2 deletion RNA lacking its cognate roX box. These results support a model in which the functional redundancy between roX1 and roX2 RNAs is based, at least in part, on short GUUNUACG sequences that regulate the activity of the MSL complex.
Project description:The male-specific lethal (MSL) ribonucleoprotein complex is necessary for equalization of X:A expression levels in Drosophila males, which have a single X chromosome. It binds selectively to the male X chromosome and directs acetylation of histone H4 at lysine 16 (H4Ac16), a modification linked to elevated transcription. roX1 and roX2 noncoding RNAs are essential but redundant components of this complex. Simultaneous removal of both roX RNAs reduces X localization of the MSL proteins and permits their ectopic binding to autosomal sites and the chromocenter. However, the MSL proteins still colocalize, and low levels of H4Ac16 are detected at ectopic sites of MSL binding and residual sites on the X chromosome of roX1- roX2- males. Microarray analysis was performed to reveal the effect of roX1 and roX2 elimination on X-linked and autosomal gene expression. Expression of the X chromosome is decreased by 26% in roX1- roX2- male larvae. Enhanced expression could not be detected at autosomal sites of MSL binding in roX1- roX2- males. These results implicate failure to compensate X-linked genes, rather than inappropriate upregulation of autosomal genes at ectopic sites of MSL binding, as the primary cause of male lethality upon loss of roX RNAs.
Project description:In Drosophila, dosage compensation is controlled by the male-specific lethal (MSL) complex consisting of MSL proteins and roX RNAs. The MSL complex is specifically localized on the male X chromosome to increase its expression approximately 2-fold. We recently proposed a model for the targeted assembly of the MSL complex, in which initial binding occurs at approximately 35 dispersed chromatin entry sites, followed by spreading in cis into flanking regions. Here, we analyze one of the chromatin entry sites, the roX1 gene, to determine which sequences are sufficient to recruit the MSL complex. We found association and spreading of the MSL complex from roX1 transgenes in the absence of detectable roX1 RNA synthesis from the transgene. We mapped the recruitment activity to a 217 bp roX1 fragment that shows male-specific DNase hypersensitivity and can be preferentially cross-linked in vivo to the MSL complex. When inserted on autosomes, this small roX1 segment is sufficient to produce an ectopic chromatin entry site that can nucleate binding and spreading of the MSL complex hundreds of kilobases into neighboring regions.
Project description:In Drosophila melanogaster, the male-specific lethal (MSL) complex plays a key role in dosage compensation by stimulating expression of male X-chromosome genes. It consists of MSL proteins and two long noncoding RNAs, roX1 and roX2, that are required for spreading of the complex on the chromosome and are redundant in the sense that loss of either does not affect male viability. However, despite rapid evolution, both roX species are present in diverse Drosophilidae species, raising doubts about their full functional redundancy. Thus, we have investigated consequences of deleting roX1 and/or roX2 to probe their specific roles and redundancies in D. melanogaster. We have created a new mutant allele of roX2 and show that roX1 and roX2 have partly separable functions in dosage compensation. In larvae, roX1 is the most abundant variant and the only variant present in the MSL complex when the complex is transmitted (physically associated with the X-chromosome) in mitosis. Loss of roX1 results in reduced expression of the genes on the X-chromosome, while loss of roX2 leads to MSL-independent upregulation of genes with male-biased testis-specific transcription. In roX1 roX2 mutant, gene expression is strongly reduced in a manner that is not related to proximity to high-affinity sites. Our results suggest that high tolerance of mis-expression of the X-chromosome has evolved. We propose that this may be a common property of sex-chromosomes, that dosage compensation is a stochastic process and its precision for each individual gene is regulated by the density of high-affinity sites in the locus.
Project description:Long non-coding RNAs contribute to dosage compensation in both mammals and Drosophila by inducing changes in the chromatin structure of the X-chromosome. In Drosophila melanogaster, roX1 and roX2 are long non-coding RNAs that together with proteins form the male-specific lethal (MSL) complex, which coats the entire male X-chromosome and mediates dosage compensation by increasing its transcriptional output. Studies on polytene chromosomes have demonstrated that when both roX1 and roX2 are absent, the MSL-complex becomes less abundant on the male X-chromosome and is relocated to the chromocenter and the 4th chromosome. Here we address the role of roX RNAs in MSL-complex targeting and the evolution of dosage compensation in Drosophila. We performed ChIP-seq experiments which showed that MSL-complex recruitment to high affinity sites (HAS) on the X-chromosome is independent of roX and that the HAS sequence motif is conserved in D. simulans. Additionally, a complete and enzymatically active MSL-complex is recruited to six specific genes on the 4th chromosome. Interestingly, our sequence analysis showed that in the absence of roX RNAs, the MSL-complex has an affinity for regions enriched in Hoppel transposable elements and repeats in general. We hypothesize that roX mutants reveal the ancient targeting of the MSL-complex and propose that the role of roX RNAs is to prevent the binding of the MSL-complex to heterochromatin.
Project description:In Drosophila melanogaster, two chromosome-specific targeting and regulatory systems have been described. The male-specific lethal (MSL) complex supports dosage compensation by stimulating gene expression from the male X-chromosome, and the protein Painting of fourth (POF) specifically targets and stimulates expression from the heterochromatic 4(th) chromosome. The targeting sites of both systems are well characterized, but the principles underlying the targeting mechanisms have remained elusive. Here we present an original observation, namely that POF specifically targets two loci on the X-chromosome, PoX1 and PoX2 (POF-on-X). PoX1 and PoX2 are located close to the roX1 and roX2 genes, which encode noncoding RNAs important for the correct targeting and spreading of the MSL-complex. We also found that the targeting of POF to PoX1 and PoX2 is largely dependent on roX expression and identified a high-affinity target region that ectopically recruits POF. The results presented support a model linking the MSL-complex to POF and dosage compensation to regulation of heterochromatin.
Project description:roX RNAs are involved in the chromosome-wide gene regulation that occurs during dosage compensation in Drosophila. Dosage compensation equalizes expression of X-linked and autosomal genes. Drosophila males increase transcription two-fold from their single X chromosome. This is mediated by the MSL complex, which is composed of the male-specific lethal (MSL) proteins and two noncoding roX RNAs, roX1 and roX2. Upon elimination of both roX transcripts, a global decrease of X-linked gene expression is observed in males. Expression of the genes on the entire 4th chromosome also decreased in the absence of both roX transcripts. roX1 RNA also presents in females in the early stages. To investigate the effect of loss of roX transcripts on gene expression in females, gene expression was analyzed by microarrays in roX1-roX2- female flies. To eliminate inconsistency caused by differences in genetic background, expression of roX1-roX2- females with females of virtually identical genetic background but carrying the [hsp83-roX1+] transgene were compared. Expression of any chromosome did not change in roX1-roX2- females. It was concluded that roX RNAs only effect in males . Experiment Overall Design: Total RNA was prepared from groups of 50 third instar larvae by TRIzol (Invitrogen) extraction and purified using the RNeasy kit (Qiagen). Three independent RNA preparations for each genotype served as templates for probe synthesis. These probes were hybridized to Affymetrix Drosophila Genome 2.0 chips (Santa Clara, CA). Genes were filtered for present/absent calls by a PM-MM (Perfect match-Mismatch) comparison. Affymetrix Gene expression data was background corrected, normalized and summarized into a one expression value per replicate sample and probeset using the RMA (robust multi-array average) algorithm. Changes in gene expression were determined by comparing the mean signal intensities of genes on arrays hybridized with roX1- roX2- (mutant) probes to those hybridized with roX1- roX2-; [hsp83-roX1+] (control) probes.
Project description:Drosophila males double transcription of their single X chromosome to equalize X-linked gene expression with females, which carry two X chromosomes. Increased transcription requires the Male-Specific Lethal (MSL) complex. One of the primary functions of the MSL complex is thought to be enrichment of H4Ac16 on the male X chromosome, a modification linked to elevated transcription. The roX1 and roX2 RNAs are essential but redundant components of the MSL complex. Simultaneous removal of both roX RNAs reduces MSL X-localization and leads to ectopic binding of these proteins at autosomal sites and to the chromocenter. Some H4Ac16 accumulates at these ectopic sites in roX1- roX2- males, suggesting the possibility of increased expression. The global effect of roX mutations on gene expression was measured by microarray analysis. We found that expression of the X chromosome was decreased by 26% in roX1- roX2- male larvae, supporting the involvement of roX RNAs in the up-regulation of X-linked genes. This finding is broadly comparable to reports of reduced X chromosome expression following msl2 RNAi knockdown in S2 cells. In spite of strong MSL binding and H4Ac16 accumulation at autosomal sites in roX1- roX2- males, enhanced gene expression could not be detected at these sites by microarray analysis or reverse northern blotting. Thus, failure to compensate X-linked genes, rather than inappropriate up-regulation of autosomal genes at ectopic sites of MSL binding, appears to cause male lethality upon loss of roX RNAs. Experiment Overall Design: Total RNA was prepared from groups of 50 third instar larvae by TRIzol (Invitrogen) extraction and purified using the RNeasy kit (Qiagen). Three independent RNA preparations for each genotype served as templates for probe synthesis. Affymetrix Drosophila Genome 2.0 chips were hybridized to these probes (Santa Clara, CA). The affymertrix Drosophila annotation of December 2004 was used to map genes to their cytological locations. Genes were filtered for present/absent calls by a PM-MM (Perfect match- Mismatch) comparison. Autosomal transcripts were normalized on a chip-by-chip basis to bring their median values to 100. The identical degree of adjustment was used to normalize X-linked transcripts. Changes in gene expression were determined by comparing the mean signal intensities of genes on arrays hybridized with roX1SMC17A roX2- probes to those hybridized with roX1+ roX2- probes.