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Clermont-Ferrand, France

Dufourt J.,Clermont Universitee | Dufourt J.,French Institute of Health and Medical Research | Dufourt J.,French National Center for Scientific Research | Brasset E.,French Institute of Health and Medical Research | And 11 more authors.
DNA Research | Year: 2011

Somatic cells are equipped with different silencing mechanisms that protect the genome against retrotransposons. In Drosophila melanogaster, a silencing pathway implicating the argonaute protein PIWI represses retrotransposons in cells surrounding the oocyte, whereas a PIWI-independent pathway is involved in other somatic tissues. Here, we show that these two silencing mechanisms result in distinct chromatin structures. Using sensor transgenes, we found that, in somatic tissues outside of the ovaries, these transgenes adopt a heterochromatic configuration implicating hypermethylation of H3K9 and K27. We identified the Polycomb repressive complexes (PRC1 and 2), but not heterochromatin protein 1 to be necessary factors for silencing. Once established, the compact structure is stably maintained through cell divisions. By contrast, in cells where the silencing is PIWI-dependent, the transgenes display an open and labile chromatin structure. Our data suggest that a post-transcriptional gene silencing (PTGS) mechanism is responsible for the repression in the ovarian somatic cells, whereas a mechanism that couples PTGS to transcriptional gene silencing operates to silence retrotransposons in the other somatic tissues. © 2011 The Author. Source

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