Interspecific comparison of the unusually repetitive Drosophila locus mastermind

Stuar J. Newfeld, David A. Smoller, Barry Yedvobnick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


The mastermind gene of Drosophila melanogaster encodes a novel, highly repetitive nuclear protein required for neural development. To identify functionally important regions we have initiated an interspecific comparison of the gene in Drosophila virilis. Mastermind transcription and genomic organization are similar in both species and sequence analysis reveals significant conservation in a major cluster of charged amino acids. In contrast, extensive variation is noted in homopolymer domains that immediately flank the acidic cluster. Distinct patterns of evolutionary change can be identified: the major difference between unique regions are occasional amino acid substitutions whereas the repetitive areas are characterized by numerous large in-frame insertions/deletions and a nearly threefold higher rate of amino acid replacement. Conservation of the acidic domain suggests that it has an important functional role whereas the hypervariable homopolymer regions appear to be under less selective constraints than adjacent unique areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)415-420
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Molecular Evolution
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Drosophila virilis
  • Evolution
  • Gene comparison
  • Homopolymers
  • Repetitive sequences
  • mastermind

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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