The scute (sc) gene, a member of the achaete-scute complex of Drosophila melanogaster, has dual functions: sisterless (sis-b) function required for sex determination and dosage compensation and scute function, which is involved in neurogenesis. The sc homologue of D. subobscura was cloned. It lacks introns and encodes a single 1.7-kb transcript slightly larger than that of D. melanogaster (1.6 kb). The Sc protein of D. subobscura is slightly larger than that of D. melanogaster (382 vs. 345 amino acids). Sequence comparisons between both species show the Sc protein to have a highly conserved bHLH domain. Outside this domain, amino acid replacements are not randomly distributed. Two additional conserved domains, of 20 and 36 amino acids, are present near the C-terminal end. They may represent domains confering specificity upon the Sc protein with respect to other proteins of the achaete-scute complex. In its 3′ untranslated region, Sc RNA contains uridine stretches, putative Sxl protein DNA-binding sites. The D. subobscura Sc protein can cooperate with other D. melanogaster bHLH proteins because D. subobscura sc supplies sis-b function when introduced into D. melanogaster transgenic flies mutant for sc.
- Received February 16, 1996.
- Accepted July 22, 1996.
- Copyright © 1996 by the Genetics Society of America