Fluorescent protein tagging confirms the presence of ribosomal proteins at Drosophila polytene chromosomes

Kushal Nivriti Rugjee, Subhendu Roy Chaudhury, Khalid Al-jubran, Preethi Ramanathan, Annunziata Matina, Jikai Wen, Saverio Brogna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
246 Downloads (Pure)


Most ribosomal proteins (RPs) are stoichiometrically incorporated into ribosomal subunits and play essential roles in ribosome biogenesis and function. However, a number of RPs appear to have non-ribosomal functions, which involve direct association with pre-mRNA and transcription factors at transcription sites. The consensus is that the RPs found at these sites are off ribosomal subunits, but observation that different RPs are usually found together suggests that ribosomal or ribosomal-like subunits might be present. Notably, it has previously been reported that antibodies against 20 different RPs stain the same Pol II transcription sites in Drosophila polytene chromosomes. Some concerns, however, were raised about the specificity of the antibodies. To investigate further whether RPs are present at transcription sites in Drosophila, we have generated several transgenic flies expressing RPs (RpS2, RpS5a, RpS9, RpS11, RpS13, RpS18, RpL8, RpL11, RpL32, and RpL36) tagged with either green or red fluorescent protein. Imaging of salivary gland cells showed that these proteins are, as expected, abundant in the cytoplasm as well as in the nucleolus. However, these RPs are also apparent in the nucleus in the region occupied by the chromosomes. Indeed, polytene chromosome immunostaining of a representative subset of tagged RPs confirms the association with transcribed loci. Furthermore, characterization of a strain expressing RpL41 functionally tagged at its native genomic locus with YFP, also showed apparent nuclear accumulation and chromosomal association, suggesting that such a nuclear localization pattern might be a shared feature of RPs and is biologically important. We anticipate that the transgenes described here should provide a useful research tool to visualize ribosomal subunits in Drosophila tissues and to study the non-ribosomal functions of RPs.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere15
Publication statusPublished - 12 Feb 2013


  • Ribosomal proteins
  • Drosophila
  • Polytene chromosomes
  • Visualization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Fluorescent protein tagging confirms the presence of ribosomal proteins at Drosophila polytene chromosomes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this