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Mol Gen Genet. 1991 Jun;227(2):260-6.

Molecular cloning of a glutathione S-transferase overproduced in an insecticide-resistant strain of the housefly (Musca domestica).

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Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology, School of Medicine, University of California, Davis 95616.


We report the cloning and sequencing of a glutathione S-transferase (GST) gene from the housefly Musca domestica. A cDNA lambda gt11 library was prepared from the organophosphate insecticide-resistant housefly strain Cornell-R--a variant that has elevated GST activity. The lambda phage GST clone was identified on the basis of its ability to cross-hybridize to a GST DNA probe from Drosophila melanogaster. Based on amino acid homology to other GSTs and expression of GST activity in Escherichia coli, the Musca GST gene (MdGST-1) belongs to the GST gene family. Although organophosphate resistance in Cornell-R is largely due to one of the GSTs, MdGST-1 is probably not the enzyme responsible for resistance. The mutation that controls resistance to organophosphate insecticides in Cornell-R is highly unstable and we isolated spontaneous variants to both insecticide sensitivity and to even higher levels of resistance. This provided us with an isogenic set of three strains. We found that MdGST-1 transcript levels as measured by Northern assays are higher in all three Cornell-R strains relative to the sensitive wild type, but that the sensitive Cornell-R strain has more MdGST-1 transcript than does the highly resistant Cornell-R strain. These data as well as Southern analysis of genomic DNA allow us to conclude: (1) there are multiple GST genes in M. domestica; (2) the natural variant Cornell-R overproduces excess transcript from two and probably more of these genes; and (3) the unstable mutation in Cornell-R influences the levels of multiple GSTs.

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