• locust;
  • vitellogenin;
  • juvenile hormone;
  • P element;
  • Drosophila


In Locusta migratoria, vitellogenin (Vg) is normally produced only in adult female fat body under stimulation by juvenile hormone (JH). This permits study of (a) programming of genes for expression and (b) modulation of expression by JH. From L. migratoria genomic libraries, two Vg genes (A and B) have been cloned. Coding regions encompass 10-12 kbases of DNA, contain introns, and hybridize with 6,300 nucleotide mRNAs. Although the 5'-exons, coding for signal peptides, are similar in sequence, the remaining coding sequences have distinct restriction maps and show no crosshybridization. Upstream DNA from the two genes has some sequence similarity, corresponding to potential regulatory regions. Dot hybridization assays of mRNAs A and B in locust fat body after induction by methoprene show coordinate expression of the two Vg genes and also a third, unidentified JH-regulated gene. In the hope of providing a system for identification of control sequences, P element-mediated transformation has been used to transfer locust DNA into Drosophila. From Vg gene B, a central block was deleted, to give a mini-Vg gene comprising 5' and 3' terminal coding sequences plus upstream flanking DNA. This was incorporated into the P element vector Carnegie 20 and injected into Drosophila embryos. Three transformed fly lines were obtained in which the locust mini-Vg gene was integrated at different chromosomal sites. On Northern blots of fly RNA, however, no expression of the locust sequences could be detected, even though the accompanying rosy gene was expressed. This suggests that the locust regulatory sequences were not recognized in Drosophila, and current effort is directed toward developing a homologous locust transformation system for expression assay of cloned JH-regulated genes.