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Two hsp23 genes in the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata: structural characterization, heat shock regulation and developmental expression


Anastassios C. Mintzas, Department of Biology, University of Patras, Patras 26500, Greece. Tel.: +30 2610 997368; fax: +30 2610 991606; e-mail:


In the present study, we characterized a 3320-bp genomic DNA fragment encoding two medfly (Ceratitis capitata) homologues of the Drosophila melanogaster heat shock protein 23 (hsp23) gene, named Cchsp23-αand. The two medfly hsp23 genes are transcribed in opposite directions and encode two almost identical proteins. Furthermore, the two genes exhibit a very high degree of similarity in their 5′ untranslated and proximal promoter regions. Phylogenetic analysis indicated that the CcHsp23 proteins are orthologous to Drosophila Hsp23 and Sarcophaga crassipalpis Hsp23. Structural analysis of the 5′ flanking regions of the Cchsp23 genes revealed the presence of several putative heat shock elements. Both CcHsp23 genes are induced by heat in a similar manner. In addition to heat-induction, the Cchsp23 genes are expressed at several stages of normal development as well as in ovaries and testes. In general, the developmental expression patterns of the medfly genes are similar, suggesting that they are under similar regulatory mechanisms. However, the expression of the Cchsp23 genes differs significantly from the expression of the Drosophila hsp23 gene in certain embryonic and larval stages, suggesting differential regulation of the hsp23 genes in the two dipteran species. The expression of both Cchsp23 genes in adult flies is increased with age, especially in males.