Protein-protein interactions among components of the Drosophila primary sex determination signal

Yujing Liu, John M. Belote

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Sex determination in Drosophila melanogaster is initiated in the early embryo by a signal provided by three types of genes: (1)X-linked numerator elements [e.g., sisterless-a (sis-a) and sisterless-b (sis-b)], (2) autosomally linked denominator elements [e.g., deadpan (dpn)], and (3) maternal factors [e.g., daughterless (da)]. This signal acts to stimulate transcription from an embryo-specific promoter of the master regulatory gene Sex-lethal (Sxl) in embryos that have two X chromosomes (females), while it fails to activate Sxl in those with only one X (males). It has been previously proposed that competitive dimerizations among the components of this signal might provide the molecular basis for this sex specificity. Here, we use the yeast two-hybrid system to demonstrate specific protein-protein interactions among the above-mentioned factors, and to delimit their interacting domains. These results support and extend the model of the molecular basis of the X/A ratio signal.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-189
Number of pages8
JournalMGG Molecular & General Genetics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 1995


  • Helix-loop-helix
  • Interaction trap
  • Leucine zipper
  • Sex determination
  • Two-hybrid system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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