Organ-specific Patterns of Gene Expression in the Reproductive Tract of Drosophila Are Regulated by the Sex-Determination Genes

Dev Biol. 1991 Aug;146(2):451-60. doi: 10.1016/0012-1606(91)90246-y.


The sex-determination genes of Drosophila act to repress the developmental pathway for the internal somatic reproductive organs of the opposite sex. By misregulating this pathway during preadult development, the organ-specific expression pattern of the glucose dehydrogenase gene (Gld) in the reproductive tract of adult flies has been changed without a concomitant sexual transformation of the reproductive organs. Misregulation of the tra, tra-2, and dsx genes leads to very similar patterns of ectopic expression of Gld. The induced ectopic patterns of Gld expression at the adult stage occur in a small subset of organs which all normally express the Gld gene during their morphogenesis. These ectopic patterns are irrevocably set during late larval-early pupal development. The normal pattern of Gld expression in several other Drosophila species is quite similar to the ectopic patterns which we have generated in D. melanogaster, suggesting that the interspecific variation in Gld expression may result from variation in the expression of the sex-determination genes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila melanogaster / embryology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Genes
  • Genes, Dominant
  • Genes, Recessive
  • Genitalia / embryology
  • Genitalia / growth & development
  • Glucose 1-Dehydrogenase
  • Glucose Dehydrogenases / biosynthesis
  • Glucose Dehydrogenases / genetics
  • Male
  • Metamorphosis, Biological
  • Mutation
  • Organ Specificity
  • Sex Determination Analysis*


  • Glucose Dehydrogenases
  • Glucose 1-Dehydrogenase