Format of Original
Genetics Society of America
The Drosophila dec-1 gene encodes multiple proteins that are required for female fertility and proper eggshell morphogenesis. Genetic and immunolocalization data suggest that the different DEC-1 proteins are functionally distinct. To identify regions within the proteins with potential biological significance, we cloned and sequenced the D. yakuba and D. virilis dec-1 homologs. Interspecies comparisons of the predicted translation products revealed rapidly evolving sequences punctuated by blocks of conserved amino acids. Despite extensive amino acid variability, the proteins produced by the different dec-1 homologs were functionally interchangeable. The introduction of transgenes containing either the D. yakuba or the D. virilis dec-1 open reading frames into a D. melanogaster DEC-1 protein null mutant was sufficient to restore female fertility and wild-type eggshell morphology. Normal expression and extracellular processing of the DEC-1 proteins was correlated with the phenotypic rescue. The nature of the conserved features highlighted by the evolutionary comparison and the molecular resemblance of some of these features to those found in other extracellular proteins suggests functional correlates for some of the multiple DEC-1 derivatives.