Overlapping Eucaryotic genes -Reply

David Osterbur dosterbu at kumc.wpo.ukans.edu
Wed Dec 21 02:01:44 EST 1994

In Article <01HKTO5TNH6Q002NRM at ccvax.sinica.edu.tw>,
>Dear netters!
>Does anybody have any information about overlapping genes in Eucaryotes,
>especially in Drosophila? Actually, I've got two different cDNAs that overlap
>on their 3'-end sequence. This was also shown by the corresponding genomic
>fragment sequencing. Thanks in adwance for any hints on that subject.
>Dmitri Bessarab
>Postdoctoral Fellow
>Institute of Molecular Biology
>Academia Sinica
>Nankang Taipei
>mbdmitry at ccvax.sinica.edu.tw

This phenomenon does occur, although somewhat infrequently in most species I am aware of, however, overlapping ORFs are relatively common in baculoviruses. These overlapping mRNAs seem to be intimately involved in the regulation of gene expression in these viruses. I am not aware of any cases of this happening in Drosophila, but it is probably as common in these critters as it is in other eukaryotes, such as yeast. In Nature 357:38-46
(1992) the complete sequence of chromosome III is presented. Of the approximately 200 ORFs identified on this chromosome, only a few were overlapping one another. Hope this helps some.

There are two examples of overlapping transcripts in Drosophila.  They are:
TI: Overlapping genes of Drosophila melanogaster: 
organization of the z600-gonadal-Eip28/29 gene cluster.
AU: Schulz-RA; Butler-BA
SO: Genes-Dev. 1989 Feb; 3(2): 232-42

TI: Molecular analysis of duplicated esterase genes in Drosophila melanogaster.
AU: Collet-C; Nielsen-KM; Russell-RJ; Karl-M; Oakeshott-JG; Richmond-RC
SO: Mol-Biol-Evol. 1990 Jan; 7(1): 9-28

David L. Osterbur

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