We previously showed in Drosophila melanogaster embryos that low-affinity Ultrabithorax (Ubx)-responsive shavenbaby (svb) enhancers drive expression using localized transcriptional environments and that active svb enhancers on different chromosomes tended to colocalize (Tsai et al., 2017). Here, we test the hypothesis that these multi-enhancer 'hubs' improve phenotypic resilience to stress by buffering against decreases in transcription factor concentrations and transcriptional output. Deleting a redundant enhancer from the svb locus led to reduced trichome numbers in embryos raised at elevated temperatures. Using high-resolution fluorescence microscopy, we observed lower Ubx concentration and transcriptional output in this deletion allele. Transcription sites of the full svb cis-regulatory region inserted into a different chromosome colocalized with the svb locus, increasing Ubx concentration, the transcriptional output of svb, and partially rescuing the phenotype. Thus, multiple enhancers could reinforce a local transcriptional hub to buffer against environmental stresses and genetic perturbations, providing a mechanism for phenotypical robustness.
- Albert Tsai
- Albert Tsai
- Mariana R P Alves
- Justin Crocker
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- David N Arnosti, Michigan State University, United States
- Received: February 27, 2019
- Accepted: July 8, 2019
- Accepted Manuscript published: July 11, 2019 (version 1)
© 2019, Tsai et al.
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