Advertisement

Biological Function of Insect Yellow Gene Family

  • Li Jianyong 
  • Christensen Bruce M. 

Abstract

The yellow-y gene in Drosophila has been recognized for many years. Its sequence shares no apparent sequence homology to proteins from noninsect species. Mutation of the yellow gene produces a yellow-colored cuticle; therefore, the yellow gene has been extensively used as a model to study the molecular regulation of protein expression because of its visible phenotype. The completion of the Drosophila genome revealed a number of yellow-y like genes and based on their sequence similarity with yellow-y they have been classified into a Drosophila yellow gene family. As more insect genomes have been sequenced, it has become apparent that a yellow gene family is present in other insect species as well. The yellow gene family is unique in insects because members of this family share no apparent sequence identity to non-insect species. This then leads to some fundamental questions as to why this group of proteins has evolved only in insects and what functions do they perform? Based on limited research with select insect yellow genes, we speculate that at least one of its primary functions involves cuticle and eggshell (chorion) formation and hardening during insect development, and that the yellow gene family is vital for insect survival. The following provides data that describe/discuss the presence of a yellow gene family in different insect species, and the function or possible functions for some individual yellow genes. We also discuss some future directions for research that lead to a more comprehensive understanding of the insect yellow gene family. Because studies dealing with the insect yellow gene family have been limited primarily to Drosophila, the Drosophila yellow gene family is commonly used in the following discussion.

Keywords

insect yellow gene biological function Drosophila insect genomes 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bellen H J, Levis RW, Liao G, et al. The BDGP gene disruption project: single transposon insertions associated with 40% of Drosophila genes. Genetics, 2004, 167: 761–781.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Claycomb J M, Benasutti M, Bosco G, et al. Gene amplification as a developmental strategy: isolation of two developmental amplicons in Drosophila. Dev. Cell, 2004, 6: 145–155.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Drapeau M D. The family of Yellow-related Drosophila melanogaster proteins. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Comm., 2001, 281: 611–613.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Drapeau M D, Albert S, Kucharski R, et al. Evolution of the Yellow/Major Royal Jelly Protein family and the emergence of social behavior in honey bees. Genome Res., 2006a, 16: 1385–1394.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Drapeau M D, Cyran S A, Viering M M, et al. A cis-regulatory sequence within the yellow locus of Drosophila melanogaster required for normal male mating success. Genetics, 2006b, 172: 1009–1030.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Gompel N, Prud’homme B, Wittkopp P J, et al. Chance caught on the wing: cis-regulatory evolution and the origin of pigment patterns in Drosophila. Nature, 2005, 433: 481–487.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fang J, Han Q, Johnson J K, et al. Functional expression and characterization of Aedes aegypti dopachrome conversion enzyme. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun., 2002, 290: 287–293.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Han Q, Fang J, Ding H, et al. Identification of Drosophila melanogaster yellow-f and yellow-f2 proteins as dopachrome-conversion enzymes. Biochem. J., 2002, 368: 333–340.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ito K, Katsuma S, Yamamoto K, et al. Yellow-E determines the color patterns of the larval head and tail spots of the silkworm, Bombyx mori. J. Biol. Chem., 2010, 285: 5624–5629.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Jeong S, Rebeiz M, Andolfatto P, et al. The evolution of gene regulation underlies a morphological difference between two Drosophila sister species. Cell, 2008, 132: 783–293.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Jeong S, Rokas A, Carroll S B. Regulation of body pigmentation by the Abdominal-B Hox protein and its gain and loss in Drosophila evolution. Cell, 2006, 125: 1387–1399.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Johnson J K, Li J, Christensen B M. Cloning and characterization of a dopachrome conversion enzyme from the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti. Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol., 2001, 31: 1125–1135.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Labrador M, Sha K, Li A, Corces V G. Insulator and Ovo proteins determine the frequency and specificity of insertion of the gypsy retrotransposon in Drosophila melanogaster. Genetics, 2008, 180: 1367–1378.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Li J, Zhao X, Christensen B M. Dopachrome conversion activity in Aedes aegypti: significance during melanotic encapsulation of parasites and cuticular tanning. Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol., 1994, 24: 1043–1049.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Llopart A, Lachaise D, Coyne J A. Multilocus analysis of introgression between two sympatric sister species of Drosophila: Drosophila yakuba and D. santomea. Genetics, 2005, 171: 197–210.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Prud’homme B, Gompel N, Carroll S B. Emerging principles of regulatory evolution. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 2007, 104Suppl. 1: 8605–8612.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Prud’homme B, Gompel N, Rokas A, et al. Repeated morphological evolution through cis-regulatory changes in a pleiotropic gene. Nature, 2006, 440: 1050–1053.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Simpson P. The stars and stripes of animal bodies: evolution of regulatory elements mediating pigment and bristle patterns in Drosophila. Trends Genet., 2007, 23: 350–358.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Soshnev A A, Li X, Wehling M D, Geyer P K. Context differences reveal insulator and activator functions of a Su(Hw) binding region. PLoS Genet., 2008, 4: e1000159.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Wittkopp P J, Vaccaro K, Carroll S B. Evolution of yellow gene regulation and pigmentation in Drosophila. Curr. Biol., 2002a, 12: 1547–1556.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Wittkopp P J, True J R, Carroll S B. Reciprocal functions of the Drosophila yellow and ebony proteins in the development and evolution of pigment patterns. Development, 2002b, 129: 1849–1858.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Wittkopp P J, Williams B L, Selegue J E, Carroll S B. Drosophila pigmentation evolution: divergent genotypes underlying convergent phenotypes. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 2003, 100: 1808–1813.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Xia A H, Zhou Q X, Yu L L, et al. Identification and analysis of YELLOW protein family genes in the silkworm, Bombyx mori. BMC Genomics, 2006, 7: 195.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Higher Education Press, Beijing and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Li Jianyong 
    • 1
  • Christensen Bruce M. 
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryVirginia TechBlackburgUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pathobiological SciencesUniversity of Wisconsin-MadisonMadisonUSA

Personalised recommendations