Genes regulated by mating, sperm, or seminal proteins in mated female Drosophila melanogaster

Curr Biol. 2004 Aug 24;14(16):1509-14. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2004.08.028.


In Drosophila melanogaster, sperm and accessory gland proteins ("Acps," a major component of seminal fluid) transferred by males during mating trigger many physiological and behavioral changes in females (reviewed in ). Determining the genetic changes triggered in females by male-derived molecules and cells is a crucial first step in understanding female responses to mating and the female's role in postcopulatory processes such as sperm competition, cryptic female choice, and sexually antagonistic coevolution. We used oligonucleotide microarrays to compare gene expression in D. melanogaster females that were either virgin, mated to normal males, mated to males lacking sperm, or mated to males lacking both sperm and Acps. Expression of up to 1783 genes changed as a result of mating, most less than 2-fold. Of these, 549 genes were regulated by the receipt of sperm and 160 as a result of Acps that females received from their mates. The remaining genes whose expression levels changed were modulated by nonsperm/non-Acp aspects of mating. The mating-dependent genes that we have identified contribute to many biological processes including metabolism, immune defense, and protein modification.

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

  • Animals
  • DNA Primers
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation* / physiology*
  • Genes, Insect / genetics*
  • Male
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Oligonucleotides
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Seminal Plasma Proteins / metabolism*
  • Seminal Plasma Proteins / physiology
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Spermatozoa / metabolism*
  • Spermatozoa / physiology


  • DNA Primers
  • Oligonucleotides
  • Seminal Plasma Proteins