The sex determination locus transformer-2 of Drosophila encodes a polypeptide with similarity to RNA binding proteins

Cell. 1989 Mar 24;56(6):1011-8. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(89)90634-x.


The D. melanogaster transformer-2 (tra-2) gene regulates somatic sexual differentiation in females and is necessary for spermatogenesis in males. Wild-type tra-2 function is required for the female-specific splicing of the pre-mRNA of the next known gene (doublesex) downstream of tra-2 in the sex determination regulatory hierarchy. The tra-2 gene was cloned, and P element-mediated transformation was used to demonstrate that a 3.9 kb genomic fragment contains all sequences necessary for tra-2 function. A 1.7 kb transcript was shown to be the product of the tra-2 locus based on its reduced level in flies containing a tra-2 mutant allele. The sequence of a cDNA corresponding to this transcript indicates that it encodes a polypeptide with strong similarity to a family of RNA binding proteins that includes proteins found associated with hnRNPs and snRNPs, suggesting that the tra-2 product may directly regulate the processing of the double-sex pre-mRNA in females.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Carrier Proteins / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Genes
  • Genes, Regulator
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Peptides / analysis
  • Peptides / genetics*
  • Peptides / pharmacology
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Sex Determination Analysis*
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Transformation, Genetic


  • Carrier Proteins
  • Peptides
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA-Binding Proteins

Associated data

  • GENBANK/J03155