How flies make one equal two: dosage compensation in Drosophila

Trends Genet. 1994 Oct;10(10):376-80. doi: 10.1016/0168-9525(94)90135-x.


Dosage compensation is the process by which the expression of X-linked genes is equalized in males and females. In Drosophila, dosage compensation occurs by coordinately upregulating the transcription rates of all the genes on the single X chromosome in males. This hypertranscription requires the functioning of four autosomal male-specific lethal (msl) genes and is under the control of the Sxl gene. Recent genetic and molecular studies have suggested that the msl proteins may associate with one another in a sex-specific heteromeric complex on the male X chromosome, where they may function to alter its chromatin structure.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone*
  • DNA Helicases*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins*
  • Dosage Compensation, Genetic*
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Female
  • Genes, Lethal
  • Genetic Linkage
  • Insect Hormones / genetics
  • Male
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics
  • RNA-Binding Proteins*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • X Chromosome


  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Insect Hormones
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Sxl protein, Drosophila
  • Transcription Factors
  • mle protein, Drosophila
  • msl-1 protein, Drosophila
  • DNA Helicases