WRS-85D: A tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase expressed to high levels in the developing Drosophila salivary gland

Partha Seshaiah, Deborah J. Andrew

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In a screen for genes expressed in the Drosophila embryonic salivary gland, we identified a tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase gene that maps to cytological position 85D (WRS-85D). WRS-85D expression is dependent on the homeotic gene Sex combs reduced (Scr). In the absence of Scr function, WRS- 85D expression is lost in the salivary gland primordia; conversely, ectopic expression of Scr results in expression of WRS-85D in new locations. Despite the fact that WRS-85D is a housekeeping gene essential for protein synthesis, we detected both WRS-85D mRNA and protein at elevated levels in the developing salivary gland. WRS-85D is required for embryonic survival; embryos lacking the maternal contribution were unrecoverable, whereas larvae lacking the zygotic component died during the third instar larval stage. We showed that recombinant WRS-85D protein specifically charges tgNA(Trp), and WRS-85D is likely to be the only tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase gene in Drosophila. We characterized the expression patterns of all 20 amino-acyl- tRNA synthetases and found that of the four aminoacyl-tRNA synthetase genes expressed at elevated levels in the salivary gland primordia, WRS-85D is expressed at the highest level throughout embryogenesis. We also discuss the potential noncanonical activities of tryptophanyl-tRNA synthetase in immune response and regulation of cell growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1595-1608
Number of pages14
JournalMolecular biology of the cell
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1999

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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