The Drosophila trithorax group gene kismet (kis) was identified in a screen for extragenic suppressors of Polycomb (Pc) and subsequently shown to play important roles in both segmentation and the determination of body segment identities. One of the two major proteins encoded by kis (KIS-L) is related to members of the SWI2/SNF2 and CHD families of ATP-dependent chromatin-remodeling factors. To clarify the role of KIS-L in gene expression, we examined its distribution on larval salivary gland polytene chromosomes. KIS-L is associated with virtually all sites of transcriptionally active chromatin in a pattern that largely overlaps that of RNA Polymerase II (Pol II). The levels of elongating Pol II and the elongation factors SPT6 and CHD1 are dramatically reduced on polytene chromosomes from kis mutant larvae. By contrast, the loss of KIS-L function does not affect the binding of PC to chromatin or the recruitment of Pol II to promoters. These data suggest that KIS-L facilitates an early step in transcriptional elongation by Pol II.
- BRM complex
- RNA polymerase II