Organisation and expression of a cluster of yolk protein genes in the Australian sheep blowfly, Lucilia cuprina
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The Australian sheep blowfly Lucilia cuprina is a major pest for the Australian and New Zealand sheep industries. With the long-term aim of making a strain of L. cuprina suitable for a genetic control program, we previously developed a tetracycline-repressible female lethal genetic system in Drosophila. A key part of this system is a female-specific promoter from a yolk protein (yp) gene controlling expression of the tetracycline-dependent transactivator (tTA). Here we report the sequence of a 14.2 kb genomic clone from L. cuprina that contains a cluster of three complete yp genes and one partial yp gene. The Lcyp genes are specifically expressed in females that have received a protein meal. A bioinformatic analysis of the promoter of one of the yp genes (LcypA) identified several putative binding sites for DSX, a known regulator of yp gene expression in other Diptera. A transgenic strain of L. cuprina was made that contained the LcypA promoter driving the expression of the Escherichia coli lacZ reporter gene. Transgenic females express high levels of β-galactosidase after a protein meal. Thus the LcypA promoter could be used to obtain female-specific expression of tTA in transgenic L. cuprina.
KeywordsYolk protein Sterile insect technique Lucilia cuprina
We thank Phil Batterham for the gift of a L. cuprina genomic DNA phage library and Fred Gould for comments on the manuscript. This research benefited significantly from discussion at regular research co-ordination meetings of the FAO/IAEA co-ordinated research project on “Molecular technologies to improve the effectiveness of the sterile insect technique”. Our research was supported by funding from Massey University and Meat and Wool New Zealand.
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