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J Mol Evol. 1989 Dec;29(6):486-95.

Transgenic regulation of moth chorion gene promoters in Drosophila: tissue, temporal, and quantitative control of four bidirectional promoters.

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Department of Cellular and Developmental Biology, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138.


Bidirectional chorion gene promoter regions from three silkmoth species, Bombyx mori, Antheraea pernyi, or Antheraea polyphemus (members of two different moth families), were tested for their ability to transcriptionally activate a bacterial marker gene (chloramphenicol acetyltransferase) in transformant Drosophila. Relatively short 5' flanking DNA fragments (272-367 bp) of chorion gene pairs are sufficient to confer a high degree of tissue and choriogenic stage specificity of expression to the marker gene. Thus, significant conservation of molecular interactions controlling transcription during choriogenesis is observed between the distantly related orders, Lepidoptera and Diptera. However, quantitative and fine temporal regulation in the Drosophila host does not fully parallel the in situ regulation in moths, indicating that some regulatory protein-DNA interactions have diversified in the approximately 250 million years since the last common ancestor of these insect groups. Limited in vitro mutagenesis of a B. mori promoter DNA has shown that a central 189-bp region includes elements sufficient for the qualitative specificity of chorion-specific expression. The same experiments have shown that a previously identified essential element, centered on the TCACGT hexamer, is not sufficient for chorion-specific expression: an additional essential element or elements are found farther upstream, within a 112-bp DNA region. Comparisons of silkmoth and Drosophila chorion gene promoter sequences have identified some candidates for cis-acting elements involved in the developmental regulation of chorion gene expression.

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