Suppression of distinct ovo phenotypes in the Drosophila female germline by maleless- and Sex-lethal

Dev Genet. 1998;23(4):335-46. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1520-6408(1998)23:4<335::AID-DVG8>3.0.CO;2-M.


Mutations in ovo result in several different phenotypes, which we show are due to the regulation of distinct developmental pathways. Two X (female) germ cells require ovo+ activity for viability, but 1X (male) germ cells do not. In our study, we observed suppression of the ovo germline-lethality phenotype in loss-of-function maleless (mle) females indicating that ovo+ and mle+ have opposing effects in female germ cells; or that they are hierarchically related. Gain-of-function Sex-lethal (Sxl) alleles and male specific lethal-2 alleles did not suppress the ovo germline death phenotype. Many of the surviving germ cells in females mutant for both ovo and mle showed ovarian tumors. In contrast to the germline viability phenotype, we did observe suppression of the tumor phenotype in females heterozygous for gain-of-function alleles of Sxl. Further, females mutant for some hypomorphic ovo alleles were rendered fertile by Sxl gain-of-function alleles. Thus, ovo+ is required for at least two distinct functions, one involving mle+, and one mediated by Sxl+ gene products. The existence of ovo+ functions independent of mle+ and Sxl+ is likely.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone*
  • DNA Helicases*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins*
  • Drosophila / embryology*
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Genes, Insect
  • Insect Proteins / genetics
  • Male
  • Oogenesis / genetics*
  • RNA Helicases / genetics*
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Sex Determination Processes*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*


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