A Segmentation Gene in Tribolium Produces a Polycistronic mRNA that Codes for Multiple Conserved Peptides

Joël Savard, Henrique Marques-Souza, Manuel Ignacio Aranda Lastra, Diethard Tautz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

111 Scopus citations


Segmentation genes in insects are required for generating the subdivisions of the early embryo. We describe here a new member of the gap family of segmentation genes in the flour beetle Tribolium, mille-pattes (mlpt). mlpt knockdown leads to transformation of the abdominal segments into thoracic segments, providing embryos with up to ten pairs of legs. We show that there are crossregulatory interactions between mlpt and the known gap genes in Tribolium, suggesting that mlpt is itself a gap gene. The mlpt gene reveals an unusual structure, as it encodes a polycistronic mRNA that codes for four peptides. mlpt appears to be the prototype of this previously unknown gene structure in eukaryotes, as we find homologous genes with the same polycistronic arrangement in other insect genomes as well.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)559-569
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 4 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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