Molecular characterization and genomic distribution of ISIS: a new retrotransposon of Drosophila buzzatii

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A new transposable element, Isis, is identified as a LTR retrotransposon in Drosophila buzzatii. DNA sequence analysis shows that Isis contains three long ORFs similar to gag, pol and env genes of retroviruses. The ORF1 exhibits sequence homology to matrix, capsid and nucleocapsid gag proteins and ORF2 encodes a putative protease (PR), a reverse transcriptase (RT), an Rnase H (RH) and an integrase (IN) region. The analysis of a putative env product, encoded by the env ORF3, shows a degenerated protein containing several stop codons. The molecular study of the putative proteins coded by this new element shows striking similarities to both Ulysses and Osvaldo elements, two LTR retrotransposons, present in D. virilis and D. buzzatii, respectively. Comparisons of the predicted Isis RT to several known retrotransposons show strong phylogenetic relationships to gypsy-like elements, particulary to Ulysses retrotransposon. Studies of Isis chromosomal distribution show a strong hybridization signal in centromeric and pericentromeric regions, and a scattered distribution along all chromosomal arms. The existence of insertional polymorphisms between different strains and high molecular weight bands by Southern blot suggests the existence of full-sized copies that have been active recently. The presence of euchromatic insertion sites coincident between Isis and Osvaldo could indicate preferential insertion sites of Osvaldo element into Isis sequence or vice versa. Moreover, the presence of Isis in different species of the buzzatii complex indicates the ancient origin of this element. © 2006 Springer-Verlag.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-95
JournalMolecular Genetics and Genomics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2007


  • Drosophila buzzatii
  • Genomic distribution
  • Isis
  • Retrotransposons
  • Transposable elements

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