A role of the Drosophila homeless gene in repression of Stellate in male meiosis

Chromosoma. 2001 Jul;110(3):228-40. doi: 10.1007/s004120100136.


The homeless gene of Drosophila melanogaster encodes a member of the DE-H family of ATPase and RNA helicase proteins. Loss-of-function homeless mutations were previously found to cause female sterility with numerous defects in oogenesis, including improper formation of both the anterior-posterior and dorsal-ventral axes and failure to transport and localize key RNAs required for axis formation. One homeless mutation was also found to affect male meiosis, causing elevated X-Y nondisjunction. Here we further analyze the role of homeless in male meiosis. We show that homeless mutations cause a variety of defects in male meiosis including nondisjunction of the X-Y and 2-2 pair, Y chromosome marker loss, meiotic drive, chromosome fragmentation, chromatin bridges at anaphase, and tripolar meiosis. In addition, homeless mutations interact with an X chromosomal factor to cause complete male sterility. These phenotypes are similar to those caused by deletion of the Suppressor of Stellate [Su(Ste)] locus. Like Su(Ste) deficiencies, homeless mutants also exhibit crystals in primary spermatocytes and derepression of the X-linked Stellate locus. To determine whether the regulatory role of hls is specific for Stellate or includes other repeated sequences as well, we compared testis RNA levels for nine transposable elements and found that all but one, copia, were expressed at the same levels in hls mutants and wild type. Copia, however, was strongly derepressed in hls mutant males. We conclude that hls functions along with Su(Ste) and other recently described genes to repress the Stellate locus in spermatocytes, and that it may also play a role in repressing certain other repeated sequences.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / genetics*
  • Animals
  • Chromosome Segregation
  • DNA / genetics*
  • DNA / physiology
  • DNA Transposable Elements / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Gene Silencing / physiology*
  • Genes, Insect / genetics*
  • Genotype
  • Infertility, Male / genetics*
  • Insect Proteins / genetics*
  • Male
  • Meiosis / genetics*
  • Mutation
  • Nondisjunction, Genetic
  • Protein Kinases*
  • Sex Chromosomes / genetics*
  • Spermatocytes / pathology


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Insect Proteins
  • DNA
  • Protein Kinases
  • Ste protein, Drosophila
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases
  • spn-E protein, Drosophila