The Drosophila Suppressor of Hairy-wing [Su(Hw)] protein is a globally expressed, multi-zinc finger (ZnF) DNA-binding protein. Su(Hw) forms a classic insulator when bound to the gypsy retrotransposon and is essential for female germline development. These functions are genetically separable, as exemplified by Su(Hw)f that carries a defective ZnF10, causing a loss of insulator but not germline function. Here, we completed the first genome-wide analysis of Su(Hw)-binding sites (SBSs) in the ovary, showing that tissue-specific binding is not responsible for the restricted developmental requirements for Su(Hw). Mapping of ovary Su(Hw)f SBSs revealed that female fertility requires binding to only one third of the wild-type sites. We demonstrate that Su(Hw)f retention correlates with binding site affinity and partnership with Modifier of (mdg4) 67.2 protein. Finally, we identify clusters of co-regulated ovary genes flanked by Su(Hw)f bound sites and show that loss of Su(Hw) has limited effects on transcription of these genes. These data imply that the fertility function of Su(Hw) may not depend upon the demarcation of transcriptional domains. Our studies establish a framework for understanding the germline Su(Hw) function and provide insights into how chromatin occupancy is achieved by multi-ZnF proteins, the most common transcription factor class in metazoans.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes