A Drosophila gene encoding a protein with similarity to diacylglycerol kinase (DGK) was isolated by screening a genomic DNA library with a human DGK cDNA under low-stringency hybridization conditions. This putative Drosophila DGK gene (dDGK) maps to 43E on the right arm of chromosome 2. A dDGK cDNA with an open reading frame encoding a 517 amino acid protein was obtained in a screen of a 3-12-h embryonic cDNA library. In a 236-amino-acid overlap at their C-termini there is an identity of 52.5% between the dDGK protein and human DGK. The N-terminus of the Drosophila protein is not similar to human DGK, and contains clusters of polar amino acids. dDGK is transcribed in the embryonic, pupal and adult stages, with little expression during the larval stages. Transcripts of 1.7-2.2 kb, 3.5 kb, 3.7 kb and 6.6 kb are seen, although most of the smaller transcripts may be from genes with similarity to dDGK. In stage-16 and stage-17 embryos, dDGK transcripts are limited to the central nervous system and head. There is a particularly high level of expression in the cell bodies of the larval photoreceptor organ, and in the cell bodies of the ventral unpaired median neurons. The dDGK protein may be involved in regulating signal transduction in these specific neurons.

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