Genes containing long introns occupy series of bands and interbands in drosophila melanogaster polytene chromosomes

Varvara A. Khoroshko, Galina V. Pokholkova, Victor G. Levitsky, Tatyana Yu Zykova, Oksana V. Antonenko, Elena S. Belyaeva, Igor F. Zhimulev

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Drosophila melanogaster polytene chromosomes are the best model for studying the genome organization during interphase. Despite of the long-term studies available on genetic organization of polytene chromosome bands and interbands, little is known regarding long gene location on chromosomes. To analyze it, we used bioinformatic approaches and characterized genome-wide distribution of introns in gene bodies and in different chromatin states, and using fluorescent in situ hybridization we juxtaposed them with the chromosome structures. Short introns up to 2 kb in length are located in the bodies of housekeeping genes (grey bands or lazurite chromatin). In the group of 70 longest genes in the Drosophila genome, 95% of total gene length accrues to introns. The mapping of the 15 long genes showed that they could occupy extended sections of polytene chromosomes containing band and interband series, with promoters located in the interband fragments (aquamarine chromatin). Introns (malachite and ruby chromatin) in polytene chromosomes form independent bands, which can contain either both introns and exons or intron material only. Thus, a novel type of the gene arrangement in polytene chromosomes was discovered; peculiarities of such genetic organization are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number417
Number of pages32
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2020


  • Bands
  • Chromatin states
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Gene introns
  • Housekeeping genes
  • Interbands
  • Polytene chromosomes
  • interbands
  • gene introns
  • chromatin states
  • bands
  • 2B3-4-2B11
  • polytene chromosomes
  • DNA
  • housekeeping genes

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