Differential regulation of duplicate alcohol dehydrogenase genes in Drosophila mojavensis

Dev Biol. 1983 Apr;96(2):346-54. doi: 10.1016/0012-1606(83)90172-0.


These studies report the existence of multiple forms of alcohol dehydrogenase in extracts of Drosophila mojavensis. The existence of these forms can be best explained by the hypothesis of a duplication for the Adh locus in D. mojavensis. Electrophoretic variants at each locus have been identified and crosses between individuals carrying alternative alleles at each locus result in F1 progeny with six bands of ADH. This pattern is consistent with these individuals being heterozygous at two loci. The loci have been named Adh-1 and Adh-2. Examination of the isozyme content during development shows that the two Adh genes are not coordinately controlled but have separate developmental programs. In embryos and first and second instar larvae only Adh-1 is expressed. At about the time of the second molt Adh-2 expression commences in some of the same cells that previously expressed and continue to express Adh-1. This is evidenced by the existence of an interlocus heterodimer in third instar larvae. Both genes are expressed throughout pupation. Shortly after emergence Adh-1 expression declines. In mature males only ADH-2 is present. In mature females both Adh-1 and Adh-2 are expressed but not in the same cells since the interlocus heterodimer is absent. Examination of specific tissues reveals that most of the larval ADH is found in fat body cells and as in most tissues of third instar larvae both Adh-1 and Adh-2 are expressed. The single exception appears to be larval gut which contains ADH-1 but little if any ADH-2. In mature males and female flies all ADH containing tissues have only ADH-2. However, mature ovaries contain substantial quantities of ADH-1 which is apparently deposited into eggs. Given the extensive amount of available information on the Adh gene-enzyme system of D. melanogaster and the tools that can be applied to the analysis of homologous systems, the ADH duplication of D. mojavensis, and its regulation may be a useful one for studying differential gene regulation in specific cell types.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase
  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases / genetics*
  • Animals
  • Drosophila / enzymology*
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Drosophila / growth & development
  • Electrophoresis, Agar Gel
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Isoenzymes / genetics*
  • Larva / enzymology
  • Male
  • Sex Factors
  • Tissue Distribution


  • Isoenzymes
  • Alcohol Oxidoreductases
  • Alcohol Dehydrogenase