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Bugga L, McDaniel IE, Engie L, Armstrong JA. 2013. The Drosophila melanogaster CHD1 chromatin remodeling factor modulates global chromosome structure and counteracts HP1a and H3K9me2. PLoS One 8: e59496. Full Article

CHD1 is a conserved chromatin remodeling factor that localizes to active genes and functions in nucleosome assembly and positioning as well as histone turnover. Mouse CHD1 is required for the maintenance of stem cell pluripotency while human CHD1 may function as a tumor suppressor. To investigate the action of CHD1 on higher order chromatin structure in differentiated cells, we examined the consequences of loss of CHD1 and over-expression of CHD1 on polytene chromosomes from salivary glands of third instar Drosophila melanogaster larvae. We observed that chromosome structure is sensitive to the amount of this remodeler. Loss of CHD1 resulted in alterations of chromosome structure and an increase in the heterochromatin protein HP1a, while over-expression of CHD1 disrupted higher order chromatin structure and caused a decrease in levels of HP1a. Over-expression of an ATPase inactive form of CHD1 did not result in severe chromosomal defects, suggesting that the ATPase activity is required for this in vivo phenotype. Interestingly, changes in CHD1 protein levels did not correlate with changes in the levels of the euchromatin mark H3K4me3 or elongating RNA Polymerase II. Thus, while CHD1 is localized to transcriptionally active regions of the genome, it can function to alter the levels of HP1a, perhaps through changes in methylation of H3K9.

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