Cell type-specific gene expression in the Drosophila melanogaster male accessory gland

Mech Dev. 1992 Jul;38(1):33-40. doi: 10.1016/0925-4773(92)90036-j.


The accessory gland of the male Drosophila melanogaster plays a vital role in reproduction. This secretory organ synthesizes products that are transferred to the female and are necessary to elicit the proper physiological and behavioral responses in the female. The accessory gland is composed of two morphologically distinct secretory cell types, the main cells and the secondary cells. Previous studies identified some genes expressed in main cells or in all accessory gland cells. In this paper we use P-element mediated enhancer traps to examine gene expression in the accessory gland. We show that, in addition to genes expressed in main cells only or in all accessory gland secretory cells, there are genes expressed specifically in secondary cells. Each cell type is uniform in the expression of its genes. Our results demonstrate that the two cell types are not only morphologically distinct but also biochemically distinct. We also show that the two cell types differ in their regulation of gene expression in response to mating activity.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / genetics
  • Animals
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Ejaculatory Ducts / metabolism
  • Enhancer Elements, Genetic / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation / physiology*
  • Genitalia, Male / cytology
  • Male
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / physiology
  • beta-Galactosidase / biosynthesis


  • beta-Galactosidase