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Pal-Bhadra M, Leibovitch BA, Gandhi SG, et al. Heterochromatic silencing and HP1 localization in Drosophila are dependent on the RNAi machinery [published correction appears in Science. 2013 May 24;340(6135):924. Rao, Madhusudana [corrected to Chikka, Madhusudana Rao]]. Science. 2004;303(5658):669–672. doi:10.1126/science.1092653


Genes normally resident in euchromatic domains are silenced when packaged into heterochromatin, as exemplified in Drosophila melanogaster by position effect variegation (PEV). Loss-of-function mutations resulting in suppression of PEV have identified critical components of heterochromatin, including proteins HP1, HP2, and histone H3 lysine 9 methyltransferase. Here, we demonstrate that this silencing is dependent on the RNA interference machinery, using tandem mini-white arrays and white transgenes in heterochromatin to show loss of silencing as a result of mutations in piwi, aubergine, or spindle-E (homeless), which encode RNAi components. These mutations result in reduction of H3 Lys9 methylation and delocalization of HP1 and HP2, most dramatically in spindle-E mutants.


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