The accessory gland proteins in male Drosophila: structural, reproductive, and evolutionary aspects

Experientia. 1996 Jun 15;52(6):503-10. doi: 10.1007/BF01969718.


Recent results from biochemical and molecular genetic studies of the accessory gland proteins in male Drosophila are reviewed. The most prominent feature is the species-specific variability. However, the analysis of the sex peptide in D. melanogaster shows that there is a strong homology in the molecular structure to the closely related sibling species, and that divergence increases with increasing phylogenetic distance. For this reason the sex peptide, after being transferred to the female genital tract during copulation, reduces receptivity and increases oviposition only in virgin females belonging to the same species group and subgroup. Even though studies were hitherto limited to a small number of the secretory components, it is evident that the accessory gland proteins play a key role in reproductive success of the fruit fly by changing female sexual behavior, supporting sperm transfer, storage and displacement. Thus, genes encoding the accessory gland proteins are apparently under strong evolutionary selection.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Drosophila melanogaster*
  • Female
  • Genitalia, Male
  • Insect Control
  • Male
  • Proteins / genetics*
  • Proteins / physiology*
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal
  • Species Specificity


  • Proteins