The most enigmatic feature of polytene chromosomes is their banding pattern, the genetic organization of which has been a very attractive puzzle for many years. Recent genome-wide protein mapping efforts have produced a wealth of data for the chromosome proteins of Drosophila cells. Based on their specific protein composition, the chromosomes comprise two types of bands, as well as interbands. These differ in terms of time of replication and specific types of proteins. The interbands are characterized by their association with “active” chromatin proteins, nucleosome remodeling, and origin recognition complexes, and so they have three functions: acting as binding sites for RNA pol II, initiation of replication and nucleosome remodeling of short fragments of DNA. The borders and organization of the same band and interband regions are largely identical, irrespective of the cell type studied. This demonstrates that the banding pattern is a universal principle of the organization of interphase polytene and non-polytene chromosomes.
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