UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

Cell-autonomous and somatic signals control sex-specific gene expression in XY germ cells of Drosophila.


Janzer, B; Steinmann-Zwicky, M (2001). Cell-autonomous and somatic signals control sex-specific gene expression in XY germ cells of Drosophila. Mechanisms of Development, 100(1):3-13.

Abstract

When XX germ cells develop in a testis they become spermatogenic. Thus, somatic signals determine the sex of genetically female germ cells. In contrast, XY germ cells experimentally transferred to an ovary do not differentiate oogenic cells. Because such cells show some male characteristics when analyzed in adults, it was assumed that XY germ cells autonomously become spermatogenic. Recently, however, evidence showing that a female soma feminizes XY germ cells was reported. The conclusion was drawn that the sex determination of XY germ cells is dictated by the sex of the soma. We monitored the fate of XY germ cells placed in a female environment throughout development. Here we report that such germ cells respond to both cell-autonomous and somatic sex-determining signals, depending on the developmental stage. Analyzing the expression of sex-specific molecular markers, we first detected autonomous male-specific gene expression in XY germ cells embedded in female embryos and larvae. At later stages, however, we found that sex-specific regulation of gene expression within XY germ cells is influenced by somatic gonadal cells. After metamorphosis, XY germ cells developing in a female soma start expressing female-specific and male-specific markers. Transcription of female-specific genes is maintained, while that of male-specific genes is later repressed. We show that in such XY germ cells, the female-specific gene Sex-lethal (Sxl) is activated. Within the germline, Sxl expression is required for the activation of a further female-specific gene and the repression of male-specific genes. We thus report for the first time the existence of downstream targets of the gene Sxl in the germline.

When XX germ cells develop in a testis they become spermatogenic. Thus, somatic signals determine the sex of genetically female germ cells. In contrast, XY germ cells experimentally transferred to an ovary do not differentiate oogenic cells. Because such cells show some male characteristics when analyzed in adults, it was assumed that XY germ cells autonomously become spermatogenic. Recently, however, evidence showing that a female soma feminizes XY germ cells was reported. The conclusion was drawn that the sex determination of XY germ cells is dictated by the sex of the soma. We monitored the fate of XY germ cells placed in a female environment throughout development. Here we report that such germ cells respond to both cell-autonomous and somatic sex-determining signals, depending on the developmental stage. Analyzing the expression of sex-specific molecular markers, we first detected autonomous male-specific gene expression in XY germ cells embedded in female embryos and larvae. At later stages, however, we found that sex-specific regulation of gene expression within XY germ cells is influenced by somatic gonadal cells. After metamorphosis, XY germ cells developing in a female soma start expressing female-specific and male-specific markers. Transcription of female-specific genes is maintained, while that of male-specific genes is later repressed. We show that in such XY germ cells, the female-specific gene Sex-lethal (Sxl) is activated. Within the germline, Sxl expression is required for the activation of a further female-specific gene and the repression of male-specific genes. We thus report for the first time the existence of downstream targets of the gene Sxl in the germline.

Citations

20 citations in Web of Science®
22 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

64 downloads since deposited on 11 Feb 2008
21 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Molecular Life Sciences
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
Language:English
Date:1 January 2001
Deposited On:11 Feb 2008 12:17
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:15
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0925-4773
Publisher DOI:10.1016/S0925-4773(00)00529-3
PubMed ID:11118879
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-753

Download

[img]
Preview
Filetype: PDF
Size: 630kB
View at publisher

TrendTerms

TrendTerms displays relevant terms of the abstract of this publication and related documents on a map. The terms and their relations were extracted from ZORA using word statistics. Their timelines are taken from ZORA as well. The bubble size of a term is proportional to the number of documents where the term occurs. Red, orange, yellow and green colors are used for terms that occur in the current document; red indicates high interlinkedness of a term with other terms, orange, yellow and green decreasing interlinkedness. Blue is used for terms that have a relation with the terms in this document, but occur in other documents.
You can navigate and zoom the map. Mouse-hovering a term displays its timeline, clicking it yields the associated documents.

Author Collaborations