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Comparative and functional studies of Drosophila species invasion by the gypsy endogenous retrovirus

Comparative and functional studies of Drosophila species invasion by the gypsy endogenous retrovirus

Genetics 160(1): 201-209

ISSN/ISBN: 0016-6731

PMID: 11805056

Gypsy is an endogenous retrovirus of Drosophila melanogaster. Phylogenetic studies suggest that occasional horizontal transfer events of gypsy occur between Drosophila species. gypsy possesses infective properties associated with the products of the envelope gene that might be at the origin of these interspecies transfers. We report here the existence of DNA sequences putatively encoding full-length Env proteins in the genomes of Drosophila species other than D. melanogaster, suggesting that potentially infective gypsy copies able to spread between sexually isolated species can occur. The ability of gypsy to invade the genome of a new species is conditioned by its capacity to be expressed in the naive genome. The genetic basis for the regulation of gypsy activity in D. melanogaster is now well known, and it has been assigned to an X-linked gene called flamenco. We established an experimental simulation of the invasion of the D. melanogaster genome by gypsy elements derived from other Drosophila species, which demonstrates that these non-D. melanogaster gypsy elements escape the repression exerted by the D. melanogaster flamenco gene. Reprinted by permission of the publisher.

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Accession: 003684827

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