The transformer (tra) gene of Drosophila is necessary for all aspects of female somatic sexual differentiation. tra uses a single set of precursor RNAs to produce female- and non-sex-specific RNAs by alternative splicing. Ectopic expression of the female-specific RNA causes chromosomal males to develop as females, indicative of a linear pathway of regulated genes controlling sex. Genetic and molecular tests with this ectopically expressed gene are consistent with the following order of gene action: X chromosome to autosome ratio → Sex lethal → transformer → transformer-2 → doublesex → intersex → terminal differentiation. Expression of the female-specific tra RNA in tra mutants is sufficient to lead to female differentiation. Expression of the non-sex-specific tra RNA in tra mutants is not sufficient to lead to female differentiation. The tra female-specific activity is not required for female-specific splicing of the tra precursor RNAs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)