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J Mol Biol. 1996 Jan 26;255(3):387-400.

Molecular characterization of the 71E late puff in Drosophila melanogaster reveals a family of novel genes.

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Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia 19104-6018, USA.


Early metamorphic development in Drosophila melanogaster is initiated by pulses of the steroid hormone ecdysone, which are transduced into tissue-specific transcriptional cascades. This process begins with the hormone-dependent activation of a set of transcription factors (early genes) that, in turn, activate set of tissue-specific effector genes (late genes). The 71E cytogenetic region of the salivary gland polytene genome contains several ecdysone-regulated transcription units. Molecular techniques were used to analyze these genes, their transcriptional program and their evolutionary relatedness. We find that this region contains a cluster of ten coordinately regulated late genes (L71 genes) that are organized as five divergently transcribed gene pairs. Maximum parsimony analysis suggests that an ancestral L71 gene duplicated to form the first gene pair which was, in turn, duplicated to form the set of gene pairs. The L71 gene products form a family of small, chemically basic proteins with a conserved backbone of cysteine residues. In addition, the 71E region contains another gene (I71-1) with the regulatory and biochemical characteristics of the salivary gland intermolt glue proteins.

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