Role of Enhancer of zeste on the production of Drosophila melanogaster pheromonal hydrocarbons

Naturwissenschaften. 2000 Feb;87(2):76-9. doi: 10.1007/s001140050013.


In a search for genes controlling the production of Drosophila melanogaster contact pheromones, the gene Enhancer of zeste [E(z)] was found to be one player. Flies mutant for either the amorphic or the antimorphic allele of E(z) showed a similar hydrocarbon phenotype as those with the overlapping Df lxd(15) deficiency: decreased amounts of total hydrocarbons and especially unsaturated ones in both sexes. The decrease in the level of D. melanogaster female sex pheromone 7,11-heptacosadiene was dramatic and was correlated with an increase in 7-heptacosene. Females mutant for a gain-of-function allele had increased amounts of total hydrocarbons with wild-type proportions of dienes. Thus the E(z) gene seems to affect hydrocarbon biosynthesis, especially its desaturation steps and even more so the female-specific desaturation step transforming 7-monoenic fatty acids to 7,11-dienic ones and leading to female pheromones.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism
  • Female
  • Hydrocarbons / metabolism
  • Insect Proteins / metabolism
  • Male
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics*
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism*
  • Phenotype
  • Pheromones / biosynthesis*
  • Polycomb Repressive Complex 2
  • Repressor Proteins / genetics*
  • Repressor Proteins / metabolism*


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Insect Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Pheromones
  • Repressor Proteins
  • E(z) protein, Drosophila
  • Polycomb Repressive Complex 2