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1.  Transvection-Based Gene Regulation in Drosophila Is a Complex and Plastic Trait 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2014;4(11):2175-2187.
Transvection, a chromosome pairing-dependent form of trans-based gene regulation, is potentially widespread in the Drosophila melanogaster genome and varies across cell types and within tissues in D. melanogaster, characteristics of a complex trait. Here, we demonstrate that the trans-interactions at the Malic enzyme (Men) locus are, in fact, transvection as classically defined and are plastic with respect to both genetic background and environment. Using chromosomal inversions, we show that trans-interactions at the Men locus are eliminated by changes in chromosomal architecture that presumably disrupt somatic pairing. We further show that the magnitude of transvection at the Men locus is modified by both genetic background and environment (temperature), demonstrating that transvection is a plastic phenotype. Our results suggest that transvection effects in D. melanogaster are shaped by a dynamic interplay between environment and genetic background. Interestingly, we find that cis-based regulation of the Men gene is more robust to genetic background and environment than trans-based. Finally, we begin to uncover the nonlocal factors that may contribute to variation in transvection overall, implicating Abd-B in the regulation of Men in cis and in trans in an allele-specific and tissue-specific manner, driven by differences in expression of the two genes across genetic backgrounds and environmental conditions.
PMCID: PMC4232543  PMID: 25213691
transvection; trans-interactions; Malic enzyme (Men); Abdominal-B (Abd-B); phenotypic plasticity; genotype by environment interactions; Drosophila melanogaster
2.  A Genome-Wide Screen Identifies Genes That Affect Somatic Homolog Pairing in Drosophila 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2012;2(7):731-740.
In Drosophila and other Dipterans, homologous chromosomes are in close contact in virtually all nuclei, a phenomenon known as somatic homolog pairing. Although homolog pairing has been recognized for over a century, relatively little is known about its regulation. We performed a genome-wide RNAi-based screen that monitored the X-specific localization of the male-specific lethal (MSL) complex, and we identified 59 candidate genes whose knockdown via RNAi causes a change in the pattern of MSL staining that is consistent with a disruption of X-chromosomal homolog pairing. Using DNA fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH), we confirmed that knockdown of 17 of these genes has a dramatic effect on pairing of the 359 bp repeat at the base of the X. Furthermore, dsRNAs targeting Pr-set7, which encodes an H4K20 methyltransferase, cause a modest disruption in somatic homolog pairing. Consistent with our results in cultured cells, a classical mutation in one of the strongest candidate genes, pebble (pbl), causes a decrease in somatic homolog pairing in developing embryos. Interestingly, many of the genes identified by our screen have known roles in diverse cell-cycle events, suggesting an important link between somatic homolog pairing and the choreography of chromosomes during the cell cycle.
PMCID: PMC3385979  PMID: 22870396
RNAi; homolog pairing; male-specific lethal; cell cycle; interchromosomal interaction
3.  Simplified Insertion of Transgenes Onto Balancer Chromosomes via Recombinase-Mediated Cassette Exchange 
G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics  2012;2(5):551-553.
Balancer chromosomes are critical tools for Drosophila genetics. Many useful transgenes are inserted onto balancers using a random and inefficient process. Here we describe balancer chromosomes that can be directly targeted with transgenes of interest via recombinase-mediated cassette exchange (RMCE).
PMCID: PMC3362938  PMID: 22670225
RMCE; targeted transgenesis; phiC31; Drosophila; balancer
4.  The Twin Spot Generator for differential Drosophila lineage analysis 
Nature methods  2009;6(8):600-602.
In Drosophila, widely-used mitotic recombination-based strategies generate mosaic flies with positive readout for only one daughter cell after division. To differentially label both daughter cells, we developed the Twin Spot Generator technique (TSG) and demonstrate that through mitotic recombination, TSG generates green and red twin spots in internal fly tissues, visible even as single cells. We discuss the wide applications of TSG to lineage and genetic mosaic studies.
PMCID: PMC2720837  PMID: 19633664

Results 1-4 (4)