, Volume 77, Issue 11, pp 1285-1293
Date: 17 Nov 2012

Mapping of cis-regulatory sites in the promoter of testis-specific Stellate genes of Drosophila melanogaster

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Abstract

Tandem Stellate genes organized into two clusters in heterochromatin and euchromatin of the X-chromosome are part of the Ste-Su(Ste) genetic system required for maintenance of male fertility and reproduction of Drosophila melanogaster. Stellate genes encode a regulatory subunit of protein kinase CK2 and are the main targets of germline-specific piRNA-silencing; their derepression leads to appearance of protein crystals in spermatocytes, meiotic disturbances, and male sterility. A short promoter region of 134 bp appears to be sufficient for testis-specific transcription of Stellate, and it contains three closely located cis-regulatory elements called E-boxes. By using reporter analysis, we confirmed a strong functionality of the E-boxes in the Stellate promoter for in vivo transcription. Using selective mutagenesis, we have shown that the presence of the central E-box 2 is preferable to maintain a high-level testis-specific transcription of the reporter gene under the Stellate promoter. The Stellate promoter provides transcription even in heterochromatin, and corresponding mRNAs are translated with the generation of full-size protein products in case of disturbances in the piRNA-silencing process. We have also shown for the first time that the activity of the Stellate promoter is determined by chromatin context of the X-chromosome in male germinal cells, and it increases at about twofold when relocating in autosomes.

Original Russian Text © O. M. Olenkina, K. S. Egorova, A. A. Aravin, N. M. Naumova, V. A. Gvozdev, L. V. Olenina, 2012, published in Biokhimiya, 2012, Vol. 77, No. 11, pp. 1536–1545.
Originally published in Biochemistry (Moscow) On-Line Papers in Press, as Manuscript BM12-191, October 21, 2012.