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Molecular and General Genetics MGG

, Volume 255, Issue 1, pp 115–124 | Cite as

Germ line transposition of the copia retrotransposon in Drosophila melanogaster is restricted to males by tissue-specific control of copia RNA levels

  • E. Pasyukova
  • S. Nuzhdin
  • W. Li
  • A. J. Flavell
ORIGINAL PAPER

Abstract

Germ line transposition rates of the retrotransposon copia were directly measured in males and females of an inbred Drosophila melanogaster line, 2b3, which is highly polymorphic for copia insertion sites. The elevated germ line transposition rate of copia in this line (3–8 × 10−3 per generation per element) is confined to males, with transposition in females being undetectable under the conditions of the experiment but at most 50-fold lower than the rate for males. To determine the molecular basis of this effect, copia RNA levels were measured in whole bodies and germ lines of male and female flies of both the unstable 2b3 line and a stable line, Oregon RC-iso, which shows normal rates of copia transposition. Both male and female 2b3 flies contain much more copia RNA than flies of the stable line. However, 2b3 male germinal tissues contain much higher levels of copia RNA than the equivalent female tissues. The highest copia expression is detected in maturing primary spermatocytes. Our data show that high rates of germ line copia transposition are restricted to males by tissue-specific control of RNA levels and suggest that transposition of copia only occurs in fly tissues containing more than a relatively high threshold level of copia RNA.

Key wordscopia   Drosophila melanogaster   Germ line transposition   LTR retrotransposon   Tissue-specific transcription 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Pasyukova
    • 1
  • S. Nuzhdin
    • 1
  • W. Li
    • 2
  • A. J. Flavell
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Animal Molecular Genetics, Institute of Molecular Genetics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow 123182, RussiaRU
  2. 2.Department of Biochemistry, University of Dundee, Dundee DD1 4HN, Scotland, UKGB

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