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Cellular & Molecular Biology Letters

Open Access

A small sequence in domain v of the mitochondrial large ribosomal RNA restores Drosophila melanogaster pole cell determination in uv-irradiated embryos

  • Rossana Psaila1, 4,
  • Donatella Ponti2, 3Email author,
  • Marta Ponzi1,
  • Franca Gigliani2 and
  • Piero Augusto Battaglia1
Cellular & Molecular Biology LettersAn International Journal201015:13

Received: 3 November 2009

Accepted: 24 March 2010

Published: 12 April 2010


The mechanism by which the mitochondrial large rRNA is involved in the restoration of the pole cell-forming ability in Drosophila embryos is still unknown. We identified a 15-ribonucleotide sequence which is conserved from the protobacterium Wolbachia to the higher eukaryotes in domain V of the mitochondrial large rRNA. This short sequence is sufficient to restore pole cell determination in UV-irradiated Drosophila embryos. Here, we provide evidence that the conserved 15-base sequence is sufficient to restore luciferase activity in vitro. Moreover, we show that the internal GAGA sequence is involved in protein binding and that mutations in this tetranucleotide affect the sequence’s ability to restore luciferase activity. The obtained results lead us to propose that mtlrRNA may be involved either in damaged protein reactivation or in protein biosynthesis during pole cell determination.

Key words

mtlrRNADrosophila embryoDrosophila pole cell determination