In the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster, the four male-specific lethal (msl) genes are required to achieve dosage compensation of the male X chromosome. The MSL proteins are thought to interact with cis-acting sites that confer dosage compensation to nearby genes, as they are detected at hundreds of discrete sites along the length of the polytene X chromosome in males but not in females. The histone H4 acetylated isoform, H4Ac16, colocalizes with the MSL proteins at a majority of sites on the D. melanogaster X chromosome. Using polytene chromosome immunostaining of other species from the genus Drosophila, we found that X chromosome association of MSL proteins and H4Ac16 is conserved despite differences in the sex chromosome karyotype between species. Our results support a model in which cis-acting regulatory sites for dosage compensation evolve on a neo-X chromosome arm in response to the degeneration of its former homologue.
- Received June 12, 1996.
- Accepted June 28, 1996.
- Copyright © 1996 by the Genetics Society of America