Transcriptome profiling of sexual maturation and mating in the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata

PLoS One. 2012;7(1):e30857. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0030857. Epub 2012 Jan 27.


Sexual maturation and mating in insects are generally accompanied by major physiological and behavioural changes. Many of these changes are related to the need to locate a mate and subsequently, in the case of females, to switch from mate searching to oviposition behaviour. The prodigious reproductive capacity of the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata, is one of the factors that has led to its success as an invasive pest species. To identify the molecular changes related to maturation and mating status in male and female medfly, a microarray-based gene expression approach was used to compare the head transcriptomes of sexually immature, mature virgin, and mated individuals. Attention was focused on the changes in abundance of transcripts related to reproduction, behaviour, sensory perception of chemical stimulus, and immune system processes. Broad transcriptional changes were recorded during female maturation, while post-mating transcriptional changes in females were, by contrast, modest. In male medfly, transcriptional changes were consistent both during maturation and as a consequence of mating. Of particular note was the lack of the mating-induced immune responses that have been recorded for Drosophila melanogaster, that may be due to the different reproductive strategies of these species. This study, in addition to increasing our understanding of the molecular machinery behind maturation and mating in the medfly, has identified important gene targets that might be useful in the future management of this pest.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ceratitis capitata / genetics*
  • Ceratitis capitata / growth & development*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Genes, Insect / genetics
  • Immunity / genetics
  • Male
  • Mediterranean Region
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Sexual Maturation / genetics*
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Transcriptome / genetics


  • RNA, Messenger