Transvection, a chromosome pairing-dependent form of trans-based gene regulation, is potentially widespread in the Drosophila melanogaster genome and varies across cell types and within tissues in D. melanogaster, characteristics of a complex trait. Here, we demonstrate that the trans-interactions at the Malic enzyme (Men) locus are, in fact, transvection as classically defined and are plastic with respect to both genetic background and environment. Using chromosomal inversions, we show that trans-interactions at the Men locus are eliminated by changes in chromosomal architecture that presumably disrupt somatic pairing. We further show that the magnitude of transvection at the Men locus is modified by both genetic background and environment (temperature), demonstrating that transvection is a plastic phenotype. Our results suggest that transvection effects in D. melanogaster are shaped by a dynamic interplay between environment and genetic background. Interestingly, we find that cis-based regulation of the Men gene is more robust to genetic background and environment than trans-based. Finally, we begin to uncover the nonlocal factors that may contribute to variation in transvection overall, implicating Abd-B in the regulation of Men in cis and in trans in an allele-specific and tissue-specific manner, driven by differences in expression of the two genes across genetic backgrounds and environmental conditions.
Bing, Xinyang; Rzezniczak, Teresa Z.; Bateman, Jack R.; and Merritt, Thomas J.S., "Transvection-based gene regulation in Drosophila is a complex and plastic trait" (2014). Biology Faculty Publications. 16.