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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. Feb 28, 1995; 92(5): 1485–1489.

The Drosophila yolkless gene encodes a vitellogenin receptor belonging to the low density lipoprotein receptor superfamily.


Sequence comparisons of vitellogenins from a wide range of organisms have identified regions of similarity not only to each other but also to vertebrate apolipoproteins (e.g. apoB-100 and apoE). Furthermore, the chicken vitellogenin receptor, which also binds apolipoproteins receptor (LDLR) superfamily [Bujo, H., Hermann, M., Kaderli, M. O., Jacobsen, L., Sugawara, S., Nimpf, J., Yamamoto, T. & Schneider, W. J. (1994) EMBO J. 13, 5165-5175]. The yolk proteins of higher dipterans are exceptional, however, and instead show similarity to lipoprotein lipases. The molecular characterization of the putative Drosophila melanogaster vitellogenin receptor gene, yolkless (yl), described in this report reveals that the protein it encodes (Yl), is also a member of the LDLR superfamily. The ovary-specific 6.5-kb yl RNA codes for a protein of approximately 210 kDa which contains all three motifs common to the LDLR class of proteins. Within this superfamily, Yl may be related more to the LDLR-related proteins (LRPs), which bind both apolipoproteins and lipoprotein lipases. The similarity of Yl to the other LDLR proteins is restricted to the putative extracellular domain. Most noticeably, the cytoplasmic domain of Yl lacks the typical NPXY sequence which is involved in receptor internalization.

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