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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1993 Dec 1; 90(23): 11132–11136.

A fertility region on the Y chromosome of Drosophila melanogaster encodes a dynein microtubule motor.


A clone encoding a portion of the highly conserved ATP-binding domain of a dynein heavy-chain polypeptide was mapped to a region of the Drosophila melanogaster Y chromosome. Dyneins are large multisubunit enzymes that utilize the hydrolysis of ATP to move along microtubules. They were first identified as the motors that provide the force for flagellar and ciliary bending. Seven different dynein heavy-chain genes have been identified in D. melanogaster by PCR. In the present study, we demonstrate that one of the dynein genes, Dhc-Yh3, is located in Y chromosome region h3, which is contained within kl-5, a locus required for male fertility. The PCR clone derived from Dhc-Yh3 is 85% identical to the corresponding region of the beta heavy chain of sea urchin flagellar dynein but only 53% identical to a cytoplasmic dynein heavy chain from Drosophila. In situ hybridization to Drosophila testes shows Dhc-Yh3 is expressed in wild-type males but not in males missing the kl-5 region. These results are consistent with the hypothesis that the Y chromosome is needed for male fertility because it contains conventional genes that function during spermiogenesis.

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