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The effect of changes in the respiratory metabolism upon genome activity in Drosophila

I. The induction of gene activity

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Inhibition of hydrogen transfer between NADH and Co Q by rotenone or amytal in salivary gland cells of Drosophila hydei maintained in vitro, results in the activation of a particular group of four loci in the polytene chromosomes (puff formation). The response of these loci to the same treatment is enhanced if Na-malonate is present in the incubation medium. — Three of the loci become active if the glands are kept in a medium supplied with antimycin A or 2-heptyl-4-hydroxyquinoline-N-oxide (H QNO), specific inhibitors of the electron transfer between cytochromes b and c. — It was established that a temperature treatment and DNP raise oxygen consumption of the cells to a certain level. Following the same treatments of glands supplied with Na-malate and Na-succinate the raise in oxygen consumption attains a significantly higher level. Under these conditions no response is observed at the genome level. — Whereas DNP, which uncouples oxidative phosphorylation and enhances the respiratory chain reactions, does induce the initiation of puff formation, oligomycin, which inhibits oxidative phosphorylation and suppresses the respiratory chain reactions, is ineffective in initiating puff formation at the specific loci. However, if oligomycin is supplied to the medium in combination with KCN which inhibits the cytochrome oxidase activity, three of the four loci become active. — The presence in the medium of substances which may act as hydrogen acceptors, e.g. menadione or methylene blue, can also result in activation of the chromosome loci. — These results are interpreted as indications for the existence of a regulatory mechanism between mitochondrial respiratory metabolism and the activity of a particular group of genome loci.

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Leenders, H.J., Berendes, H.D. The effect of changes in the respiratory metabolism upon genome activity in Drosophila . Chromosoma 37, 433–444 (1972). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00284892

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  • NADH
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Methylene Blue
  • Oxidative Phosphorylation
  • Rotenone