Regulation of sexual differentiation in D. melanogaster via alternative splicing of RNA from the transformer gene

Russell T. Boggs, Paul Gregor, Suhair Idriss, John M. Belote, Michael McKeown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

243 Scopus citations


The transformer (tra) gene regulates female somatic sexual differentiation and has no known function in males. It gives rise to two sizes of RNA, one non-sex-specific and one female-specific. These two RNAs are shown to be present throughout the life cycle, and related by the use of alternative first intron splice acceptor sites. The non-sex-specific RNA has a 73 base first intron, while that in the female-specific RNA is 248 bases. The non-sex-specific RNA has no long open reading frame, while the female-specific RNA has a single long open reading frame beginning at the first AUG. Substitution of a heat shock promoter for the tra promoter still leads to female-specific differentiation of otherwise tra- females. We suggest a mechanism by which Sex-lethal controls itself and tra.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)739-747
Number of pages9
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 28 1987


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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