Retrotransposons of the gypsy group of Drosophila melanogaster that are structurally similar to retroviruses of vertebrates occupy an important place among retroelements of eukaryotes. The infectious abilities of some retrotransposons of this group (gypsy, ZAM, and Idefix) have been demonstrated experimentally, and therefore they are true retroviruses. It is supposed that retrotransposons can evolve acquiring new components, the sources of which remain to be elucidated. In this work, the CG4680gene (Gag related protein, Grp) homologous to gag of retrotransposons of the gypsy group has been identified in the genome of D. melanogaster and characterized. The Grp gene product has a highly conserved structure in different species of the Drosophilidae family and is under of purifying selection, which suggests its important genomic function in Drosophila. In view of the earlier data, it can be concluded that homologous genes of all components of gypsy retrotransposons are present in the Drosophila genome. These genes can be both precursors and products of domestication of retrovirus genes.
Russian Journal of Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: Jan 8, 2009
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