Genotype-by-environment interactions influence the composition of the Drosophila seminal proteome

Valérian Zeender, Sibylle Pfammatter, Bernd Roschitzki, Steve Dorus, Stefan Lüpold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Ejaculate proteins are key mediators of post-mating sexual selection and sexual conflict, as they can influence both male fertilization success and female reproductive physiology. However, the extent and sources of genetic variation and condition dependence of the ejaculate proteome are largely unknown. Such knowledge could reveal the targets and mechanisms of post-mating selection and inform about the relative costs and allocation of different ejaculate components, each with its own potential fitness consequences. Here, we used liquid chromatography coupled with tandem mass spectrometry to characterize the whole-ejaculate protein composition across 12 isogenic lines of Drosophila melanogaster that were reared on a high- or low-quality diet. We discovered new proteins in the transferred ejaculate and inferred their origin in the male reproductive system. We further found that the ejaculate composition was mainly determined by genotype identity and genotype-specific responses to larval diet, with no clear overall diet effect. Nutrient restriction increased proteolytic protein activity and shifted the balance between reproductive function and RNA metabolism. Our results open new avenues for exploring the intricate role of genotypes and their environment in shaping ejaculate composition, or for studying the functional dynamics and evolutionary potential of the ejaculate in its multivariate complexity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20231313
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number2006
StatePublished - Sep 13 2023


  • Tandem Mass Tag quantification
  • ejaculate protein composition
  • genotype × environment
  • isolines
  • mass spectrometry-based proteomics
  • nutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Immunology and Microbiology
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Environmental Science
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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