A highly repetitive DNA element, homologous to the mariner transposon of Drosophila mauritiana was found in the intron of the gene for cecropin A, an antibacterial peptide from the Cecropia moth. The mariner-like elements (MLE) represent a homogeneous population with a copy number of about 1000/genome. Sequencing analysis showed it to be 1255 base pairs long, including 38-base pair terminal inverted repeats. The MLE contains a defective reading frame. Nevertheless, the putative product is clearly homologous to the predicted translation product encoded by mariner. In consonance is also the fact that the inverted repeats are highly conserved between the two elements and that the overall DNA homology is 48%. Since the mariner element is present in several Drosophila species closely related to Drosophila melanogaster and since MLE is present in the lepidopteran Cecropia, a route of horizontal transfer is indicated rather than vertical transmission from a common ancestor. This suggests the possible use of mariner for the construction of an interspecies vector.
|Number of pages||4|
|Journal||Journal of Biological Chemistry|
|Publication status||Published - 1991|