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Gypsy is a fly-retrovirus originally described as a fragment of DNA cloned from several stocks of D. melanogaster, carrying suppressible mutations in the bithorax complex (Modolell, Bender, and Messelson 1983). Gypsy was the first retrovirus reported whose infectious properties were empirically tested in insects (Song et al. 1994; Kim et al. 1994) and has been also involved in occasional horizontal transfer events among other Drosophila species (Mizrokhi and Mazo 1991; Alberola and de Frutos 1996; Terzian et al. 2000). Gypsy belongs to the genus Errantiviridae (Boeke et al. 1999; Pringle 1998; 1999; Hull 1999), a lineage of fly-retroviruses and LTR retrotransposons phylogenetically related to 412/mdg1 clade (Tubio, Naveira and Costas 2005). The genomic structure of Gypsy is 7.4 Kb in size including LTRs of 482 nt. The internal region displays a Primer Binding Site (PBS) complementary to a tRNALys, three Open Reading Frames (ORFs) for gag, pol, and env genes, and a Polypurine Tract (PPT) adjacent to the 3´LTR (Marlor, Parkhurst y Corces 1986). Gypsy also displays an insulator element (gypsy insulator) of 350 nt at an untranslated zone of the transcribed 5´region (Smith and Corces 1992; Gdula, Gerasimova and Corces 1996; Gdula and Corces 1997). Insulators may normally function to compartmentalize the genome into independent domains of gene expression. Insulators can block activation of transcription when located between the enhancer and the promoter, and can shield transgenes from position effects caused by surrounding chromatin (Capelson and Corces 2004; Felsenfeld et al. 2004). The expression of Gypsy is repressed by a host gene named flamenco (Bucheton 1995 and references therein).



Figure not to scale. If present, long terminal repeats (LTRs) have been highlighted in blue. Amino acid motifs noted with lines indicate the conserved residues in each protein domain, abbreviations below mean:

MA=matrix PR=protease DU or DUT=dUTPase TM=transmembrane TAV or IBMP=transactivator/viroplasmin or inclusion body matrix protein
CA=capsid RT=reverse transcriptase INT=Integrase CHR=chromodomain
NC=nucleocapsid RH=RNaseH SU=surface MOV=movement protein
PPT=polypurine tract PBS=primer binding site ATF=aphid transmission factor VAP=virion associated protein

Related literature

Genbank accession: M12927
Clade: Gypsy
Cluster or genus: Errantiviridae
Branch or class: Branch 2
Family: Ty3/Gypsy
System: LTR retroelements
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Drosophila melanogaster
Image, courtesy of Andreas Trepte, Max-Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics
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Welcome to the Gypsy Database (GyDB) an open editable database about the evolutionary relationship of viruses, mobile genetic elements (MGEs) and the genomic repeats where we invite all authors to contribute with their knowledge to improve and expand the topics.
Cite this project:

Llorens, C., Futami, R., Covelli, L., Dominguez-Escriba, L., Viu, J.M., Tamarit, D., Aguilar-Rodriguez, J. Vicente-Ripolles, M., Fuster, G., Bernet, G.P., Maumus, F., Munoz-Pomer, A., Sempere, J.M., LaTorre, A., Moya, A. (2011) The Gypsy Database (GyDB) of Mobile Genetic Elements: Release 2.0 Nucleic Acids Research (NARESE) 39 (suppl 1): D70-D74 doi: 10.1093/nar/gkq1061

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