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J Biol Chem. 1994 Jun 10;269(23):16340-7.

Putative Drosophila pheromone-binding proteins expressed in a subregion of the olfactory system.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06511-8112.


Four genes expressed in the olfactory system of Drosophila melanogaster have been identified by subtractive hybridization. Two of these genes, OS-E and OS-F, are related to genes encoding moth pheromone-binding proteins. The OS-E and OS-F genes are tightly linked and are expressed in a subregion of the antenna (the primary olfactory organ). A protein sequence analysis suggests the possibility that pheromone-binding proteins are members of a larger class of proteins, extending beyond the olfactory system. The predicted product of a third gene, OS-D, shares features common to vertebrate odorant-binding proteins, but has a primary structure unlike odorant-binding proteins. The fourth gene, OS-C, encodes a novel 13-kDa protein that contains a putative nuclear import sequence and an acid-rich region. The expression patterns of these genes differ within the antenna; their transcript distributions support the notion of specialized roles for different olfactory sensilla. The functions of the OS gene products have not been demonstrated; however, the potential identification of pheromone-binding proteins in Drosophila, a species with well characterized genetics, may offer a means of analyzing the function of these molecules that is not available in other systems.

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