Genome-wide temperature-sensitivity of Polycomb group regulation and reduction thereof in temperate Drosophila melanogaster

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


  • Susanne Voigt - , Chair of Applied Zoology (Author)
  • Christin Froschauer - , TUD Dresden University of Technology (Author)


Epigenetic regulation varies with the environment. In the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, environmental temperature can affect chromatin-based gene regulation. Genes regulated by the Polycomb group can vary in their transcriptional output in response to changes in temperature, which typically increases with decreasing temperature. Here, we studied temperature-sensitive expression of Polycomb group target genes on a genome-wide scale, as well as temperature-sensitive enrichment of two histone modifications associated with the regulation of Polycomb group target genes, H3K27me3 and H3K4me3. We investigated temperature-sensitivity in adult flies, and possible differences thereof between populations adapted to temperate and tropical climates. Compared to genes not targeted by the Polycomb group, an elevated number of target genes showed higher expression at the lower temperature, as it is typically observed for Polycomb group regulation. Many of the Polycomb group target genes also exhibited temperature-sensitive H3K4me3 enrichment in the same direction, and the H3K4me3 temperature response correlated positively with that of expression. A small set of target sites also showed temperature-sensitive enrichment of H3K27me3, again with a higher proportion corresponding to increased transcriptional activation at the lower temperature. Overall, higher transcriptional activity at lower temperature was less pronounced in males compared to females, and in temperate compared to tropical flies. Possible trans- and cis-acting factors responsible for reduced expression plasticity in temperate flies were identified, including factors belonging to the Trithorax group and insulator binding proteins, respectively.


Original languageEnglish
Article numberiyad075
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2023

External IDs

Scopus 85160455408



  • Animals, Male, Female, Drosophila melanogaster/metabolism, Histones/genetics, Epigenesis, Genetic, Temperature, Gene Expression Regulation, Polycomb-Group Proteins/genetics, Drosophila Proteins/genetics, Drosophila/metabolism