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Primary characterization and basal promoter activity of two hexamerin genes of Musca domestica

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Hexamerins are high molecular-weight proteins found in the hemolymph of insects and have been proposed to function as storage proteins. In previous studies, two Musca domestica hexamerins, designated Hex-L and Hex-F were characterized. Hex-L is synthesized exclusively by the larval fat bodies, is secreted into the hemolymph and likely provides a source of amino acids and energy during metamorphosis. Hex-F synthesis is induced by a proteinaceous meal and occurs only in the adult insect fat bodies. Hex-F also is secreted into the hemolymph and it has been suggested that in females it may be an amino acid reservoir to be used during the final stages of egg formation. Genomic clones containing full-length copies of the genes MdHexL1 and MdHexF1, encoding subunits of the larval and the adult female hexamerin, respectively, were isolated. Complete nucleotide sequences, including the 5'-end untranscribed regions, were determined and analyzed for each of the genes. Comparisons of the conceptual translation products of the cloned genes indicated that MdHexL1 and MdHexF1 are related to the larval serum proteins (LSP) 1 and 2 of Calliphora vicina and Drosophila melanogaster. DNA fragments containing the putative promoters of the two hexamerin genes were compared and cloned into a plasmid vector so as to drive the expression of the GFP reporter gene. The constructs were assayed in vitro in transfected S2 Drosophila melanogaster cells demonstrating that the cloned M. domestica DNA fragments exhibit promoter activity.


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