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Sexual Dimorphism of Body Size Is Controlled by Dosage of the X-Chromosomal Gene Myc and by the Sex-Determining Gene tra in Drosophila


Mathews, Kristina Wehr; Cavegn, Margrith; Zwicky, Monica (2017). Sexual Dimorphism of Body Size Is Controlled by Dosage of the X-Chromosomal Gene Myc and by the Sex-Determining Gene tra in Drosophila. Genetics, 205(3):1215-1228.

Abstract

Drosophila females are larger than males. In this article, we describe how X-chromosome dosage drives sexual dimorphism of body size through two means: first, through unbalanced expression of a key X-linked growth-regulating gene, and second, through female-specific activation of the sex-determination pathway. X-chromosome dosage determines phenotypic sex by regulating the genes of the sex-determining pathway. In the presence of two sets of X-chromosome signal elements (XSEs), Sex-lethal (Sxl) is activated in female (XX) but not male (XY) animals. Sxl activates transformer (tra), a gene that encodes a splicing factor essential for female-specific development. It has previously been shown that null mutations in the tra gene result in only a partial reduction of body size of XX animals, which shows that other factors must contribute to size determination. We tested whether X dosage directly affects animal size by analyzing males with duplications of X-chromosomal segments. Upon tiling across the X chromosome, we found four duplications that increase male size by >9%. Within these, we identified several genes that promote growth as a result of duplication. Only one of these, Myc, was found not to be dosage compensated. Together, our results indicate that both Myc dosage and tra expression play crucial roles in determining sex-specific size in Drosophila larvae and adult tissue. Since Myc also acts as an XSE that contributes to tra activation in early development, a double dose of Myc in females serves at least twice in development to promote sexual size dimorphism.

Abstract

Drosophila females are larger than males. In this article, we describe how X-chromosome dosage drives sexual dimorphism of body size through two means: first, through unbalanced expression of a key X-linked growth-regulating gene, and second, through female-specific activation of the sex-determination pathway. X-chromosome dosage determines phenotypic sex by regulating the genes of the sex-determining pathway. In the presence of two sets of X-chromosome signal elements (XSEs), Sex-lethal (Sxl) is activated in female (XX) but not male (XY) animals. Sxl activates transformer (tra), a gene that encodes a splicing factor essential for female-specific development. It has previously been shown that null mutations in the tra gene result in only a partial reduction of body size of XX animals, which shows that other factors must contribute to size determination. We tested whether X dosage directly affects animal size by analyzing males with duplications of X-chromosomal segments. Upon tiling across the X chromosome, we found four duplications that increase male size by >9%. Within these, we identified several genes that promote growth as a result of duplication. Only one of these, Myc, was found not to be dosage compensated. Together, our results indicate that both Myc dosage and tra expression play crucial roles in determining sex-specific size in Drosophila larvae and adult tissue. Since Myc also acts as an XSE that contributes to tra activation in early development, a double dose of Myc in females serves at least twice in development to promote sexual size dimorphism.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Molecular Life Sciences
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
Language:English
Date:March 2017
Deposited On:06 Jun 2017 10:27
Last Modified:11 Jun 2017 05:23
Publisher:Genetics Society of America
ISSN:0016-6731
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1534/genetics.116.192260
PubMed ID:28064166

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