Sequence and sequence variation within the 1.688 g/cm3
satellite DNA of Drosophila melanogaster
We have determined the complete nucleotide sequence of the monomer repeating unit of the 1.688 g/cm3 satellite DNA from Drosophila melanogaster. This satellite DNA, which makes up 4% of the Drosophila genome and is located primarily on the sex chromosomes, has a repeat unit 359 base-pairs in length. This complex sequence is unrelated to the other three major satellite DNAs present in this species, each of which contains a very short repeated sequence only 5 to 10 base-pairs long. The repeated sequence is more similar to the complex repeating units found in satellites of mammalian origin in that it contains runs of adenylate and thymidylate residues. We have determined the nature of the sequence variations in this DNA by restriction nuclease cleavage and by direct sequence determination of (1) individual monomer units cloned in hybrid plasmids, (2) mixtures of adjacent monomers from a cloned segment of this satellite DNA, (3) mixtures of monomer units isolated by restriction nuclease cleavage of total 1.688 g/cm3 satellite DNA. Both direct sequence determination and restriction nuclease cleavage indicate that certain positions in the repeat can be highly variable with up to 50% of certain restriction sites having altered recognition sequences. Despite the high degree of variation at certain sites, most positions in the sequence are highly conserved. Sequence analysis of a mixture of 15 adjacent monomer units detected only nine variable positions out of 359 base-pairs. Total satellite DNA showed only four additional positions. While some variability would have been missed due to the sequencing methods used, we conclude that the variation from one repeat to the next is not random and that most of the satellite repeat is conserved. This conservation may reflect functional aspects of the repeated DNA, since we have shown earlier that part of this sequence serves as a binding site for a sequence-specific DNA binding protein isolated from Drosophila embryos (Hsieh & Brutlag, 1979). © 1979.
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