The first microRNAs were discovered some 20 years ago, but only a small fraction of the microRNA-encoding genes have been described in detail yet. Here we report the molecular analysis of a computationally predicted Drosophila melanogaster microRNA gene, mir-282. We show that the mir-282 gene is the source of a 4.9-kb-long primary transcript with a 5′ cap and a 3′-poly(A) sequence and a mature microRNA of ~25 bp. Our data strongly suggest the existence of an independent mir-282 gene conserved in holometabolic insects. We give evidence that the mir-282 locus encodes a functional transcript that influences viability, longevity, and egg production in Drosophila. We identify the nervous system-specific adenylate cyclase (rutabaga) as a target of miR-282 and assume that one of the main functions of mir-282 is the regulation of adenylate cyclase activity in the nervous system during metamorphosis.
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