Ectopic expression of the female transformer gene product leads to female differentiation of chromosomally male drosophila

Michael McKeown, John M. Belote, Russell T. Boggs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

126 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)887-895
Number of pages9
JournalCell
Volume53
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 17 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology

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