I factors in Drosophila melanogaster: transposition under control

Genetica. 1994;93(1-3):101-16. doi: 10.1007/BF01435243.


I factors are responsible for the I-R system of hybrid dysgenesis in Drosophila melanogaster. They belong to the LINE class of mobile elements, which transpose via reverse transcription of a full-length RNA intermediate. I factors are active members of the I element family, which also contains defective I elements that are immobilized within peri-centromeric heterochromatin and represent very old components of the genome. Active I factors have recently invaded natural populations of Drosophila melanogaster, giving rise to inducer strains. Reactive strains, devoid of active I factors, derive from old laboratory stocks established before the invasion. Transposition of I factors is activated at very high frequencies in the germline of hybrid females issued from crosses between females from reactive strains and males from inducer strains. It results in the production of high rates of mutations and chromosomal rearrangements as well as in a particular syndrome of sterility. The frequency of transposition of I factors is dependent on the amount of full-length RNA that is synthesized from an internal promoter. This full-length RNA serves both as an intermediate of transposition and presumably as a messenger for protein synthesis. Regulators of transposition apparently affect transcription initiation from the internal promoter. The data presented here lead to the proposal of a tentative model for transposition.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Chromosome Aberrations
  • DNA Transposable Elements*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • RNA Polymerase II / genetics
  • Species Specificity
  • Transcription, Genetic


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • RNA Polymerase II