Journal of Molecular Evolution

, Volume 34, Issue 1, pp 62–77 | Cite as

The urate oxidase gene of Drosophila pseudoobscura and Drosophila melanogaster: Evolutionary changes of sequence and regulation

  • Thomas B. Friedman
  • Jean B. Burnett
  • Susan Lootens
  • Robin Steinman
  • Lori L. Wallrathl


The urate oxidase (UO) transcription unit of Drosophila pseudoobscura was cloned, sequenced, and compared to the UO transcription unit from Drosophila melanogaster. In both species the UO coding region is divided into two exons of approximately equal size. The deduced D. pseudoobscura and D. melanogaster UO peptides have 346 and 352 amino acid residues, respectively. The nucleotide sequences of the D. pseudoobscura and D. melanogaster UO protein-coding regions are 82.2% identical whereas the deduced amino acid sequences are 87.6% identical with 42 amino acid changes, 33 of which occur in the first exon. Although the UO gene is expressed exclusively within the cells of the Malpighian tubules in both of these species, the temporal patterns of UO gene activity during development are markedly different. UO enzyme activity, UO protein, and UO mRNA are found in the third instar larva and adult of D. melanogaster but only in the adult stage of D. pseudoobscura. The intronic sequences and the extragenic 5′ and 3′ flanking regions of the D. pseudoobscura and D. melanogaster UO genes are highly divergent with the exception of eight small islands of conserved sequence along 772 by 5′ of the UO protein-coding region. These islands of conserved sequence are possible UO cis-acting regulatory elements as they reside along the 5′ flanking DNA of the D. melanogaster UO gene that is capable of conferring a wild-type D. melanogaster pattern of UO regulation on a UO-lacZ fusion gene.

Key words

Urate oxidase Drosophila pseudoobscura Drosophila melanogaster Nucleotide sequence Evolutionary comparison Gene regulation Malpighian tubules 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas B. Friedman
    • 1
    • 3
  • Jean B. Burnett
    • 2
  • Susan Lootens
    • 1
  • Robin Steinman
    • 1
  • Lori L. Wallrathl
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate Program in GeneticsMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA
  3. 3.College of Human MedicineMichigan State UniversityEast LansingUSA

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