Overlapping Lsp-2 gene sequences target expression to both the larval and adult Drosophila fat body


Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AK 72205, USA


The Larval serum protein-2 gene (Lsp-2) of Drosophila melanogaster encodes one of the major hexameric haemolymph proteins of third-instar larvae and a major component of adult serum. Regulated transcription of Lsp-2 results in high-level, ecdysone-stimulated expression throughout the larval fat body and low-level, spatially restricted expression in the adult fat cells. To localize cis-acting regulatory se quences responsible for the stage- and tissue-specific activity of Lsp-2, the expression of Lsp-2–IacZ fusion genes was studied by P element-mediated germline transformation of Drosophila. A 230 base pair larval enhancer, which includes an ecdysone response element (EcRE), specifically targets gene activity to the larval fat body. Although the adult mode of Lsp-2 expression depends on the larval enhancer, additional negative regulatory elements dictate both tissue-specificity and unique spatial restriction within the adult fat body. Implications of these findings for the identification of fat body-specific gene regulatory units in other insects are discussed.