The lysozyme locus in Drosophila melanogaster: different genes are expressed in midgut and salivary glands
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- Kylsten, P., Kimbrell, D.A., Daffre, S. et al. Molec. Gen. Genet. (1992) 232: 335. doi:10.1007/BF00266235
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As part of a study of the genes involved in antibacterial defense in Drosophila melanogaster, we have isolated genomic clones harboring a family of chicken-type lysozyme genes, using a lepidopteran lysozyme cDNA as probe. The locus was mapped to the cytological location 61F1-4 on the third chromosome and two of the genes at this locus, LysD and LysP, were analyzed in detail. In contrast to the bacteria-induced lysozymes in the hemolymph of many insects, the transcription levels of both Drosophila genes decrease after bacterial injections into the hemocoel. Apparently, these gene products, like the specifically adapted lysozymes in mammalian foregut fermenters, have been recruited for the digestion of bacteria present in fermenting food. The LysD gene is expressed in an anterior section of the midgut during all feeding stages of development in both larvae and adults. The LysP gene is only active in the adult where it is expressed in the salivary glands. The transcription units for both genes are very compact and they lack introns. Lysozyme D is unusual in that it is predicted to have an acidic isoelectric point whereas lysozyme P appears to be a typical basic lysozyme.