Genomic and functional studies of Drosophila sex hierarchy regulated gene expression in adult head and nervous system tissues

PLoS Genet. 2007 Nov;3(11):e216. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.0030216.


The Drosophila sex determination hierarchy controls all aspects of somatic sexual differentiation, including sex-specific differences in adult morphology and behavior. To gain insight into the molecular-genetic specification of reproductive behaviors and physiology, we identified genes expressed in the adult head and central nervous system that are regulated downstream of sex-specific transcription factors encoded by doublesex (dsx) and fruitless (fru). We used a microarray approach and identified 54 genes regulated downstream of dsx. Furthermore, based on these expression studies we identified new modes of DSX-regulated gene expression. We also identified 90 and 26 genes regulated in the adult head and central nervous system tissues, respectively, downstream of the sex-specific transcription factors encoded by fru. In addition, we present molecular-genetic analyses of two genes identified in our studies, calphotin (cpn) and defective proboscis extension response (dpr), and begin to describe their functional roles in male behaviors. We show that dpr and dpr-expressing cells are required for the proper timing of male courtship behaviors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Copulation
  • Courtship
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Genes, Insect
  • Genome / genetics*
  • Head*
  • Locomotion
  • Male
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Nervous System / metabolism*
  • Organ Specificity
  • Phenotype
  • Pupa / cytology
  • RNA Interference
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Sex Determination Processes*
  • Sex Differentiation / genetics
  • Sex Differentiation / physiology
  • Time Factors
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Wings, Animal / metabolism


  • Drosophila Proteins