Original Article

Development Genes and Evolution

, Volume 214, Issue 5, pp 211-219

First online:

Expression of the telomeric retrotransposon HeT-A in Drosophila melanogaster is correlated with cell proliferation

  • Marika F. WalterAffiliated withDevelopmental Biology Center, University of California
  • , Harald BiessmannAffiliated withDevelopmental Biology Center, University of California Email author 

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Drosophila melanogaster extends its telomeres by transposition of two non-LTR retrotransposons, HeT-A and TART, to chromosome ends. We have determined the tissue-specific expression of these two elements by whole-mount in situ hybridization with digoxigenin-labeled RNA sense and antisense probes in the germ line and in a variety of larval tissues during normal development in the wild type and in tissues of mutants that cause overproliferation. Our results indicate that transcript levels, which are a key component in the process of telomere elongation in D. melanogaster, are correlated with cell proliferation in normal tissues and that RNA levels are elevated in growth-stimulated tissues.


Drosophila Telomere HeT-A retrotransposon Cell proliferation RNA expression