Modified P elements that mimic the P cytotype in Drosophila melanogaster

H. M. Robertson, W. R. Engels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Activity of the P family of transposable elements in Drosophila melanogaster is regulated primarily by a cellular condition known as P cytotype. It has been hypothesized that P cytotype depends on a P element-encoded repressor of transposition and excision. We provide evidence in support of this idea by showing that two modified P elements, each with lesions affecting the fourth transposase exon, mimic most of the P cytotype effects. These elements were identified by means of two sensitive assays capable of detecting repression by a single P element. One assay makes use of cytotype-dependent gene expression of certain P element insertion mutations at the singed bristle locus. The other measures suppression of transposase activity from the unusually stable genomic P element, Δ2-3(99B), that normally produces transposase in both germinal and somatic tissues. The P cytotype-like effects include suppression of sn(w) germline hypermutability, sn(w) somatic mosaicism, pupal lethality, and gonadal dysgenic sterility. Unlike P cytotype, however, there was no reciprocal cross effect in the inheritance of repression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)815-824
Number of pages10
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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