Quality of regulatory elements in Drosophila retrogenes. Academic Article uri icon


  • Retrogenes are processed copies of genes that are inserted into new genomic regions and that acquire new regulatory elements from the sequences in their surroundings. Here we use a comparative approach of phylogenetic footprinting and a non-comparative approach of measuring motif over-representation in retrogenes in order to describe putative elements present in cis-regulatory regions of 94 retrogenes recently described in Drosophila. The detailed examination of the motifs found in the core promoter regions of retrogenes reveals an abundance of the DNA replication-related element (DRE), the Initiator (Inr), and a new over-represented motif that we call the GCT motif. Parental genes also show an abundance of DRE and Inr motifs, but these do not seem to have been carried over with retrogenes. In particular, we also examined motifs upstream of retrogenes expressed in adult testis and were able to identify 6 additional over-represented motifs. Comparative analyses provide data on the conservation and origin of some of these motifs and reveal 15 additional conserved motifs in these retrogenes. Some of those conserved motifs are sequences bound by known transcription factors, while others are novel motifs. In this report we provide the first genome-wide data on which specific cis-regulatory regions can be recruited by retrogenes after they are inserted into new coding regions in the genome. Future experiments are needed to determine the function and role of the new elements presented here.

published proceedings

  • Genomics

author list (cited authors)

  • Bai, Y., Casola, C., & Betrn, E.

citation count

  • 6

complete list of authors

  • Bai, Yongsheng||Casola, Claudio||BetrĂ¡n, Esther

publication date

  • January 2009