Maternal repression of the P element promoter in the germline of Drosophila melanogaster: a model for the P cytotype.
The transposition of P elements in Drosophila melanogaster is regulated by products encoded by the P elements themselves. The P cytotype, which represses transposition and associated phenomena, exhibits both a maternal effect and maternal inheritance. The genetic and molecular mechanisms of this regulation are complex and not yet fully understood. In a previous study, using P-lacZ fusion genes, we have shown that P element regulatory products were able to inhibit the activity of the P promoter in somatic tissues. However, the repression observed did not exhibit the maternal effect characteristic of the P cytotype. With a similar approach, we have assayed in vivo the effect of P element regulatory products in the germline. We show that the P cytotype is able to repress the P promoter in the germline as well as in the soma. Furthermore, this repression exhibits a maternal effect restricted to the germline. On the basis of these new observations, we propose a model for the mechanism of P cytotype repression and its maternal inheritance.