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Keywords:

  • Cannonball;
  • spermatogenesis;
  • transcriptional control;
  • translational control;
  • Boule

Abstract

The genes don juan (dj) and don juan like (djl) encode basic proteins expressed in the male germline. Both proteins show a similar expression pattern being localized in the sperm heads during chromatin condensation and along the flagella. Prematurely expressed Don Juan–eGFP and Myc-Don Juan Like localize to the cytoplasm of spermatocytes and in mitochondrial derivatives from the nebenkern stage onward suggesting that both proteins associate with the mitochondria along the flagella in elongated spermatids. Premature expression of Myc-Don Juan Like does not impair spermatogenesis where-as Don Juan-eGFP when prematurely expressed causes male sterility as spermatids fail to individualize. In spite of the sequence identity of 72% on the nucleotide level and 42% on the protein level, the presumptive promoter regions and the untranslated regions of the mRNA are diverged. Our in vivo analysis revealed that don juan and don juan like are transcriptionally and translationally controlled by distinct short cis regulatory regions. Transcription of don juan and don juan like depends on the male germ line specific TAFII80, Cannonball (Can). Translational repression elements for both mRNAs are localized in the 5′ UTR and are capable to form distinct secondary structures in close proximity to the translational initiation codon. Developmental Dynamics 235:1053–1064, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.