Abstract

Drosophila melanogoster mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) is closely related to the mammalian and amphibian mtDNA except for gene organization. In Drosophila, genes are distributed in clusters alternatively coded on each strand. Besides the eleven major foreseeable transcripts previously described (MERTEN and PARDUE, 1981, J. Mol. Biol, 153, 1–21), we have characterized two poly A + transcripts, one major and one minor which could correspond respectively to the ND3 and ND6 reading frames, and 27 poly A+ minor transcripts (0.2 to < 3.2 Kb) which are distributed along the mtDNA except In the rRNAs, NO 1 and A + T rich regions . The mapping end length of 25 of these transcripts strongly suggest a precursor role. They would be processed at the level of tRNA or tRNA-like sequences. Most of them are transcribed from the template strand of each gene cluster and their distribution is in agreement with the hypothesis of several transcription origins and terminations located near the extremities of each gene cluster. Quantitatively our results show a large variation In each presumptive mature transcript compared to the other, even in a given gene cluster, suggesting a specific degradation of some of the mature transcripts.

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