Ectopic expression of sex-peptide in a variety of tissues in Drosophila females using the P[GAL4] enhancer-trap system

Mol Gen Genet. 1997 Apr 28;254(4):449-55. doi: 10.1007/s004380050438.


Sex-peptide (SP), which is secreted by the accessory gland of Drosophila males, is transferred to the female during copulation, thereby reducing her sexual appetite (receptivity to males) and stimulating ovulation/oviposition. SP is known to be taken up into the hemolymph of mated females, but it is not clear whether there are two separate target tissues, for behavioral changes and ovulation or only one target for both responses. We have employed the GAL4-UAS system to express SP transgene constructs, both in different tissues and in different cellular components of virgin females. A cytoplasmic form of SP lacking a signal sequence did not evoke any responses, even when expressed ubiquitously. In contrast, a membrane-bound form of SP induced typical post-mating behavior, indicating that SP must be outside the cell in order to exert its biological effects. A total of 204 randomly selected P[GAL4] enhancer-trap lines were screened for their ability to induce SP responses in combination with the membrane-bound SP expressed under GAL4 control. Thirty-three lines were associated with both behavioral change and stimulated ovulation. No line was associated with only one of the two responses, implying that the SP target(s) mediating the two responses are either identical, very closely located, or present in two distinct tissues with a common set of genetic determinants. Western blot analysis of head, thorax, and abdominal extracts revealed that the biological activity was correlated with expression in the head fraction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / chemistry
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism
  • Enhancer Elements, Genetic / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Insect Hormones / genetics*
  • Insect Hormones / physiology
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Male
  • Mutation
  • Ovulation
  • Peptides / genetics*
  • Peptides / physiology
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / genetics
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal
  • Transformation, Genetic
  • beta-Galactosidase / genetics
  • beta-Galactosidase / metabolism


  • Acp36DE protein, Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Insect Hormones
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Peptides
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • SP protein, Drosophila
  • male accessory gland peptide, Drosophila
  • beta-Galactosidase