What the loss of the hormone neuroparsin in the melanogaster subgroup of Drosophila can tell us about its function

Jan A. Veenstra
Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. 2010-04-01; 40(4): 354-361
DOI: 10.1016/j.ibmb.2010.03.001

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Veenstra JA(1).

Author information:
(1)Université de Bordeaux, CNRS CNIC UMR 5228, Avenue des Facultés, 33400 Talence Cedex, France.

The twelve sequenced Drosophila genomes show the vast majority of neurohormone
and neuropeptide genes to be very well conserved. Nonetheless, the gene encoding
the hormone neuroparsin has undergone significant evolution. Although Drosophila
melanogaster has one of the best known genomes, no neuroparsin gene can be
detected in either the assembled genome or any of the individual sequencing
traces. This gene is similarly absent from the genomes of other species in the
melanogaster subgroup, even though it is present in the genomes of eight other
Drosophila species. Transgenes in which the promotor of the Drosophila ananassae
neuroparsin gene drives expression of gal4 show no expression in D. melanogaster.
The hypothesis that this gene has been lost from the melanogaster subgroup is
also supported by the neuroparsin gene of Drosophila auraria. In this species, of
which the genome has not been sequenced, but which stands phylogenetically
between D. ananassae and D. melanogaster, the predicted neuroparsin has lost half
its normal size, including four of the twelve conserved cysteine residues. These
findings demonstrate that a hormone which plays important regulatory roles in
development and reproduction in hemimetabola and is important in mosquito
reproduction, has lost its relevance in the melanogaster subgroup of the genus
Drosophila. If the essential role of neuroparsin in larval hemimetabola is to
ensure the gradual progression from a larval into an adult form during
development, that role might become superfluous in some holometabola. In
mosquitoes the role of neuroparsin in reproduction appears similar to that of the
insulin-related hormones. Perhaps the combination of the development of a
complete metamorphosis and a redundant role in reproduction made neuroparsin
dispensable in some Drosophila species.

Copyright (c) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


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