Sequence-specific targeting of MSL complex regulates transcription of the roX RNA genes

Xiaoying Bai, Artyom A. Alekseyenko, Mitzi I. Kuroda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2853-2861
Number of pages9
JournalEMBO Journal
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 21 2004


  • Dosage compensation
  • Noncoding RNA
  • Transcriptional regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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