Sex-specific regulation of yolk protein gene expression in Drosophila

Cell. 1985 Feb;40(2):339-48. doi: 10.1016/0092-8674(85)90148-5.


Many of the genes in the regulatory hierarchy controlling sex determination in Drosophila melanogaster are known. Here we examine how this regulatory hierarchy controls the expression of the structural genes encoding the female-specific yolk polypeptides. Temperature shift experiments with a temperature-sensitive allele of the sex determination regulatory gene transformer-2 (tra-2) showed that tra-2+ function is required in the adult for both the sex-specific initiation and maintenance of YP synthesis. Control of the YP genes by this regulatory hierarchy is at the level of transcription, or transcript stability. The results of temperature shift experiments with abdomens isolated from tra-2ts homozygotes support the notion that the tra-2+ function acts in a cell-autonomous manner to control YP synthesis. These results provide a paradigm for the way this regulatory hierarchy controls the terminal differentiation functions for sexually dimorphic development.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Egg Proteins / biosynthesis
  • Egg Proteins / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Genes, Regulator*
  • Male
  • RNA / analysis
  • Sex Determination Analysis*


  • Egg Proteins
  • RNA