Ultrabithorax and Antennapedia 5' untranslated regions promote developmentally regulated internal translation initiation

Xin Ye, Pete Fong, Narushi Iizuka, Donna Choate, Douglas R. Cavener

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The 5' untranslated regions (UTRs) of the Drosophila Ubx and Antp genes were tested for their ability to promote cap-independent translation initiation. The Ubx and the Antp 5' UTR were inserted between the CAT and lacZ coding sequences in a dicistronic gene and tested for IRES activity in transgenic Drosophila. Northern analysis of the mRNAs showed the presence of the predicted full-length dicistronic mRNAs. High CAT activity was expressed from the first cistron from all of the dicistronic constructs introduced into the fly genome. The dicistronic transgenic strains bearing the Ubx and Antp IRES elements expressed significant levels of β-galactosidase (βGAL) from the second cistron whereas little or no βGAL was expressed in the controls lacking the IRESs. In situ analysis of βGAL expression in the transgenic strains indicates that expression of the second cistron is spatially and temporally regulated. Although the developmental patterns of expression directed by the Antp and Ubx IRESs overlap, they exhibit several differences indicating that these IRESs are not functionally equivalent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1714-1721
Number of pages8
JournalMolecular and cellular biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1997


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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