Gene 1998 Nov 19;222(2):195-201

Identification and characterization of kraken, a gene encoding a putative hydrolytic enzyme in Drosophila melanogaster.

Chan HY, Harris SJ, O'Kane CJ. Department of Genetics, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EH, UK.

Kraken, a novel Drosophila gene isolated from a 4-8-h-old Drosophila embryo cDNA library, shows homology to a family of serine hydrolases whose common feature is that they all catalyse breakage of substrates with a carbonyl-containing group. It is a single-copy gene with at least two introns and maps to position 21D on polytene chromosomes. kraken is a member of a conserved gene family. Messenger RNA of kraken is expressed ubiquitously in early embryogenesis. Later, it is concentrated in the foregut and the posterior midgut primordium. Towards the end of embryogenesis, expression of kraken is confined to the gastric caeca. During the third-instar larval stage, kraken is expressed at low levels in the gastric caeca and parts of the gut, and at higher levels in the fat body. We suggest a role for Kraken in detoxification and digestion during embryogenesis and larval development.