Identification of nuclear genes encoding mitochondrial proteins: isolation of a collection of D. melanogaster cDNAs homologous to sequences in the Human Gene Index database

Mol Gen Genet. 1999 Feb;261(1):64-70. doi: 10.1007/s004380050942.


As a first step towards using cross-species comparison to complete the inventory of the nuclear genes that encode mitochondrial polypeptides, and ultimately to understand their function through systematic molecular and genetic analysis in a model organism of choice, we report here the characterization of 41 Drosophila melanogaster cDNAs. These cDNAs were isolated by screening an ovarian expression library with antibodies against mitochondrial proteins and identify 17 novel Drosophila genes. The deduced amino acid sequences encoded by the majority of these cDNAs turned out to show significant homology to mitochondrial proteins previously identified in other species. Among others, ORFs putatively encoding six different subunits of ATP synthase and three NADH:ubiquinone reductase subunits were detected. By in situ hybridization, all cDNAs were mapped to single bands on polytene chromosomes, thus identifying candidate Drosophila genes required for mitochondrial biogenesis and maintenance. A search of the Human Gene Index database made it possible in most cases to align the entire Drosophila coding sequence with a human consensus sequence, suggesting that the cDNAs originate from insect counterparts of expressed mammalian genes. Our experimental strategy represents an efficient approach to the identification and interspecies comparison of genes encoding products targeted to the mitochondrion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal / immunology
  • Cell Nucleus / genetics*
  • Cell Nucleus / immunology
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • DNA, Complementary / genetics
  • DNA, Complementary / isolation & purification
  • Databases, Factual
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect
  • Gene Library
  • Genes, Insect / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Insect Proteins / genetics*
  • Insect Proteins / immunology
  • Insect Proteins / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Sequence Alignment


  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • DNA, Complementary
  • Insect Proteins