We studied the occurrence of the TTAGG telomere repeats by fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH) and Southern hybridization in ten insect species and two other arthropods. (TTAGG)(n)-containing telomeres were found in three Lepidoptera species, the silkworm Bombyx mori (in which the telomeric sequence was recently discovered), the flour moth Ephestia kuehniella, and the wax moth Galleria mellonella, in one species of Hymenoptera, the honey bee Apis mellifera, in one species of Coleoptera, the bark beetle Ips typographus, in one species of Orthoptera, the locust Locusta migratoria, and in a crustacean, the amphipod Gammarus pulex. They were absent in another species of Coleoptera, the mealworm Tenebrio molitor, two representatives of Diptera, Drosophila melanogaster and Megaselia scalaris, a species of Heteroptera, the bug Pyrrhocoris apterus and a spider, Tegenaria ferruginea. Our results, which confirm and extend earlier observations, suggest that (TTAGG)(n) was a phylogenetically ancestral telomere motif in the insect lineage but was lost independently in different groups, being replaced probably by other telomere motifs. In the Coleoptera this must have happened rather recently as even members of the same family, Curculionidae, differ with respect to the telomeric DNA.
Research Areas and Centers
- Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)