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Insect Biochem Mol Biol. 1997 Oct;27(10):825-34.

New genes for male accessory gland proteins in Drosophila melanogaster.

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Section of Genetics and Development, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


The accessory gland of male insects produces components of the seminal fluid that alter the behavior, physiology and life span of the mated female, and contribute to her efficient storage and utilization of sperm. As a step towards understanding how this occurs, we have isolated genes encoding 12 previously unreported accessory gland-specific mRNAs from the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. We report here the restriction maps of the new genes, the chromosome positions--which are all autosomal--of the 11 non-repetitive genes, their expression patterns, and the sequences of the accessory gland proteins (Acps) encoded by nine of the genes. Eight of the proteins predicted from these sequences begin with putative secretion signals. Following their signal sequences, three of the predicted molecules are peptides and the other five are larger polypeptides with characteristics of cleavable prohormones. The ninth molecule, which has an N-terminal hydrophobic region but no consensus signal peptide cleavage site, is predicted to be a 716 amino acid glycoprotein. Of the nine proteins, two have intriguing similarities to sequences in protein databases. Acp76A is a 388 amino acid pro-protein which contains a signature sequence for the serpin class of protease inhibitors. The 115 amino acid Acp62F has a 28 amino acid region of high sequence similarity to a neurotoxin of the Brazilian armed spider Phoneutria nigriventer. Models are discussed in which Acp76A plays a role in the observed regulation of Acp proteolysis and/or in the coagulation of seminal fluid to form a mating plug, and in which Acp62F contributes to the reported toxicity of Drosophila seminal fluid.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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