In the preceding article we compared the general organization of polytene chromosomes in four different Drosophila melanogaster cell types. Here we describe experiments aimed at testing for a potential role of three-dimensional chromosome folding and positioning in modulating gene expression and examining specific chromosome interactions with different nuclear structures. By charting the configurations of salivary gland chromosomes as the cells undergo functional changes, it is shown that loci are not repositioned within the nucleus when the pattern of transcription changes. Heterologous loci show no evidence of specific physical interactions with one another in any of the cell types. However, a specific subset of chromosomal loci is attached to the nuclear envelope, and this subset is extremely similar in at least two tissues. In contrast, no specific interactions between any locus and the nucleolus are found, but the base of the X chromosome, containing the nucleolar organizer, is closely linked to this organelle. These results are used to evaluate models of gene regulation that involve the specific intranuclear positioning of gene sequences. Finally, data are presented on an unusual class of nuclear envelope structures, filled with large, electron-dense particles, that are usually associated with chromosomes.

This content is only available as a PDF.