Male-biased protein expression in primordial germ cells, identified through a comparative study of UAS vectors in Drosophila

Sci Rep. 2021 Nov 2;11(1):21482. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-00729-1.


In Drosophila, three types of UAS vectors (UASt, UASp, and UASz) are currently available for use with the Gal4-UAS system. They have been used successfully in somatic cells and germline cells from ovaries. However, it remains unclear whether they are functional in the germline cells of embryos, larvae, and adult testes. In this study, we found that all three types of UAS vectors were functional in the germline cells of embryos and larvae and that the UASt and UASz vectors were active in the germline of the distal tip region in adult testes. Moreover, we observed that protein expression from the UAS vectors was male-biased in germline cells of late embryos, whereas their respective mRNA expression levels were not. Furthermore, O-propargyl-puromycin (OPP) staining revealed that protein synthesis was male-biased in these germline cells. In addition, GO terms related to translation and ribosomal maturation were significantly enriched in the male germline. These observations show that translational activity is higher in male than in female germline cells. Therefore, we propose that male-biased protein synthesis may be responsible for the sex differences observed in the early germline.