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Company of Biologists Ltd.

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Tissue-specific establishment of repressive chromatin through creation of compact chromatin domains during development is necessary to ensure proper gene expression and cell fate. Caenorhabditis elegans synMuv B proteins are important for the soma/germline fate decision and mutants demonstrate ectopic germline gene expression in somatic tissue, especially at high temperature. We show that C. elegans synMuv B proteins regulate developmental chromatin compaction and that the timing of chromatin compaction is temperature sensitive in both wild type and synMuv B mutants. Chromatin compaction in mutants is delayed into developmental time periods when zygotic gene expression is upregulated and demonstrates an anterior-to-posterior pattern. Loss of this patterned compaction coincides with the developmental time period of ectopic germline gene expression, which leads to a developmental arrest in synMuv B mutants. Finally, accelerated cell division rates at elevated temperature may contribute to a lack of coordination between expression of tissue specific transcription programs and chromatin compaction at high temperature. Thus, chromatin organization during development is regulated both spatially and temporally by synMuv B proteins to establish repressive chromatin in a tissue-specific manner to ensure proper gene expression.


Accepted version. Development, Vol. 146 (October 9, 2019): dev174383. DOI. © 2019 The Company of Biologists Ltd. Used with permission.

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