Steroid response and stress-activated genes such as hsp7O undergo puffing in Drosophila larval salivary glands, a local loosening of polytene chromatin structure associated with gene induction. We find that puffs acquire elevated levels of adenosine diphosphate (ADP)-ribose modified proteins and that poly(ADP) ribose polymerase (PARP) is required to produce normal-sized puffs and normal amounts of Hsp7O after heat exposure. We propose that chromosomal PARP molecules become activated by developmental or environmental cues and strip nearby chromatin proteins off DNA to generate a puff. Such local loosening may facilitate transcription and may transiently make protein complexes more accessible to modification, promoting chromatin remodeling during development.
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