Genetic analysis of RpL38 and RpL5, two minute genes located in the centric heterochromatin of chromosome 2 of Drosophila melanogaster

Genetics. 2005 Feb;169(2):683-95. doi: 10.1534/genetics.104.034124. Epub 2004 Nov 1.


The Minute mutations of Drosophila melanogaster are thought to disrupt genes that encode ribosomal proteins (RPs) and thus impair ribosome function and protein synthesis. However, relatively few Minutes have been tied to distinct RP genes and more Minute loci are likely to be discovered. We have identified point mutations in RpL38 and RpL5 in a screen for factors limiting for growth of the D. melanogaster wing. Here, we present the first genetic characterization of these loci. RpL38 is located in the centric heterochromatin of chromosome arm 2R and is identical to a previously identified Minute, M(2)41A, and also l(2)41Af. RpL5 is located in the 2L centric heterochromatin and defines a novel Minute gene. Both genes are haplo-insufficient, as heterozygous mutations cause the classic Minute phenotypes of small bristles and delayed development. Surprisingly, we find that RpL38(-)/+ and RpL5(-)/+ adult flies have abnormally large wings as a result of increased cell size, emphasizing the importance of translational regulation in the control of growth. Taken together, our data provide new molecular and genetic information on two previously uncharacterized Minute/RP genes, the heterochromatic regions in which they reside, and the role of their protein products in the control of organ growth.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Body Patterning / genetics
  • Cell Size
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Chromosomes*
  • Drosophila Proteins / chemistry
  • Drosophila melanogaster / cytology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / growth & development
  • Gene Dosage
  • Genes, Insect*
  • Heterochromatin*
  • Heterozygote
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Point Mutation
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid
  • Wings, Animal / cytology


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Heterochromatin