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Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 1997 Apr;27(4):323-35.

Analysis of the mosquito lysosomal aspartic protease gene: an insect housekeeping gene with fat body-enhanced expression.

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  • 1Program in Genetics, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48824, USA.


In the fat body of insects with cyclic egg maturation, lysosomes play a critical role in the termination of vitellogenesis by selectively degrading the secretory machinery involved in the massive production of yolk protein precursors. To investigate this fat body-specific lysosomal activity in the mosquito, a cathepsin D-like aspartic protease (LAP) was previously purified and its cDNA cloned. Here we report the isolation of the AaLAP gene from an Aedes aegypti genomic library. The transcribed region of the gene is comprised of five exons, spanning 1904 base pairs. Restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and genomic clone analyses show this gene to be single copy and polymorphic. Primer extension analysis revealed two putative transcription start sites (TSS). The extension products corresponding to the distal and proximal TSSs were present in both pre- and vitellogenic fat bodies, suggesting that both TSSs are involved in housekeeping as well as tissue-specific expression of this gene. TATA box-like and arthropod initiator sequences, hallmarks of regulated genes, were present near each putative TSS. Several sequences resembling binding sites for liver- and fat body-specific transcription factors were identified within 1 kb upstream and downstream of the gene. Significantly, direct binding for the C/EBP and GATA families of transcription factors was demonstrated in vitro by electrophoretic mobility shift assays (EMSA). Three sequences located upstream of AaLAP resembled the Drosophila melanogaster yolk protein fat body enhancer (Dm Yp FBE). Potential hormone-response elements were also recognized in the gene; however, they did not bind the mosquito ecdysteroid receptor/Ultraspiracle heterodimer in EMSA experiments, indicating that these sequences may interact with different nuclear receptors.

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