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Fly (Austin). 2018;12(3-4):143-163. doi: 10.1080/19336934.2018.1549419. Epub 2018 Nov 29.

Functional interplay between ribosomal protein paralogues in the eRpL22 family in Drosophila melanogaster.

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a Department of Biological Sciences , Lehigh University , Bethlehem , PA , USA.


Duplicated ribosomal protein (RP) genes in the Drosophila melanogaster eRpL22 family encode structurally-divergent and differentially-expressed rRNA-binding RPs. eRpL22 is expressed ubiquitously and eRpL22-like expression is tissue-restricted with highest levels in the adult male germline. We explored paralogue functional equivalence using the GAL4-UAS system for paralogue knockdown or overexpression and a conditional eRpL22-like knockout in a heat- shock flippase/FRT line. Ubiquitous eRpL22 knockdown with Actin-GAL4 resulted in embryonic lethality, confirming eRpL22 essentiality. eRpL22-like knockdown (60%) was insufficient to cause lethality; yet, conditional eRpL22-like knockout at one hour following egg deposition caused lethality within each developmental stage. Therefore, each paralogue is essential. Variation in timing of heat-shock-induced eRpL22-like knockout highlighted early embryogenesis as the critical period where eRpL22-like expression (not compensated for by eRpL22) is required for normal development of several organ systems, including testis development and subsequent sperm production. To determine if eRpL22-like can substitute for eRpL22, we used Actin-GAL4 for ubiquitous eRpL22 knockdown and eRpL22-like-FLAG (or FLAG-eRpL22: control) overexpression. Emergence of adults demonstrated that ubiquitous eRpL22-like-FLAG or FLAG-eRpL22 expression eliminates embryonic lethality resulting from eRpL22 depletion. Adults rescued by eRpL22-like-FLAG (but not by FLAG-eRpL22) overexpression had reduced fertility and longevity. We conclude that eRpL22 paralogue roles are not completely interchangeable and include functionally-diverse roles in development and spermatogenesis. Testis-specific paralogue knockdown revealed molecular phenotypes, including increases in eRpL22 protein and mRNA levels following eRpL22-like depletion, implicating a negative crosstalk mechanism regulating eRpL22 expression. Paralogue depletion unmasked mechanisms, yet to be defined that impact paralogue co-expression within germ cells.


Cell biology; RNAi; fertilization; gene regulation; molecular genetics; reproduction

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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