Journal of Genetics

, Volume 77, Issue 1, pp 27–36 | Cite as

A search for additional X-linked genes affecting sex determination inDrosophila melanogaster

  • Anuranjan Anand
  • Aindrilla Dasgupta
  • S. Sudha
  • S. Raghavan
  • H. Sharat Chandra


The geneSex-lethal (Sxl) plays a pivotal role inDrosophila sexual development. Once activated in response to the X: A ratio signal in XX embryos,Sxl participates in appropriate implementation of all known aspects of sexual differentiation. We have attempted to identify new X-linked genes involved in sex determination, especially those involved in the regulation ofSxl. Since misregulation ofSxl, or that of the genes that regulate it, leads to female-specific lethality, or synergistic female-lethal gene interactions, or both, we used these criteria to screen about 10,000 EMS-treated chromosomes for (i) recessive female-specific lethality or (ii) enhanced female lethality intransheterozygous combination withSxl. Four potentially useful mutations—Sxldlf, fl-35, fl-46, 1–43—were recovered and a few of their properties were characterized. Approximate map positions of these mutations were determined by meiotic mapping. To understand their probable position(s) in the hierarchy of genes regulating sex determination, we studied dose-dependent interactions between them and mutations in genes known to affect sex determination by generating double and triple heterozygotes. These studies suggest that (i)Sxldlf is not defective in the ‘early’ regulation or functions ofSxl, and (ii)fl-35, fl-46 and1–43 are unlikely to be a part of the X: A ratio signal, i.e. they are not needed for the transcriptional activation ofSxl. On the other hand, they could be affecting post-transcriptional processing ofSxl transcripts.


sex determination dosage compensation Sex-lethal Drosophila melanogaster 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anand A. and Chandra H.S. 1994 Sex, flies and neuronal fates.Curr. Sci. 67, 15–16.Google Scholar
  2. Baker B.S. 1989 Sex in flies: the splice of life.Nature 340, 521–524.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baker B.S. and Ridge K.A. 1980 Sex and the single cell. 1. On the action of major loci affecting sex determination inDrosophila melanogaster.Genetics 94, 383–423.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Baker B.S., Gorman M. and Marin I. 1994 Dosage compensation inDrosophila.Annu. Rev. Genet. 28, 491–521.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barbash D.A. and Cline T.W. 1995 Genetic and molecular analysis of the autosomal component of the primary sex determination signalof Drosophila melanogaster.Genetics 141, 1451–1471.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Bashaw G.J. and Baker B.S. 1995 Themsl-2 dosage compensation gene ofDrosophila encodes a putative DNA-binding protein whose expression is sex-specifically regulated bySxl.Development 121, 3245–3558.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Bashaw G.J. and Baker B.S. 1996 Dosage compensation and chrornatin structure inDrosophila.Curr. Opin. Genet. Dev. 6, 496–501.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bell L.R., Horabin J.I., Schedl P. and Cline T.W. 1991 Positive autoregulation ofSex-lethal by alternative splicing maintains the female determined state inDrosophila.Cell 65, 229–240.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Caudy M., Vassin H., Brand H., Tuma R., Jan L.Y. and Jan Y.N. 1988daughterless, Drosophila gene essential for both neurogenesis and sex determination, has sequence similarities tomyc andachaete-scute complex.Cell 55, 1061–1067.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cline T.W. 1980 Maternal and zygotic sex-specific gene interactions inDrosophila melanogaster.Genetics 96, 903–926.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Cline T.W. 1984 Autoregulatory functioning of aDrosophila gene product that establishes and maintains the sexually determined state.Genetics 107, 231–277.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Cline T.W. 1986 A female-specific lethal lesion in an X-linked positive regulator of theDrosophila sex determination gene,Sex-lethal.Genetics 113, 641–663.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Cline T.W. 1988 Evidence thatsisterless-a andsisterless-b are two of several discrete ‘numerator elements’ of the X/A sex determination signal inDrosophila that switchSxl between two alternative stable expression states.Genetics 119, 829–862.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Cline T.W. 1993 TheDrosophila sex determination signal: how do flies count to two?Trends Genet. 9, 385–90.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cronmiller C, Schedl P. and Cline T.W. 1988 Molecular characterization ofdaughterless, aDrosophila sex determination gene with multiple roles in development.Genes Dev. 2, 1666–1676.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Duffy J.B. and Gergen J.P. 1991 The aDrosophila segmentation generunt acts as a position-specific numerator element necessary for the uniform expression of the sex-determining geneSexlethal.Genes Dev. 5, 2176–2187.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Elkins T, Zinn K., McAllister L., Hoffman F.M. and Goodman C.S. 1990 Genetic analysis of aDrosophila neural cell adhesion molecule: interaction offasciclin 1 andAbelson tyrosine kinase.Cell 60, 565–575.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Erickson J.W. and Cline T.W. 1991 Molecular nature of the sex determination signal and its link to neurogenensis.Science 251, 1071–1074.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Erickson J.W. and Cline T.W. 1993 A bZIP protein, sisterless-a, collaborates with bHLH transcription factors early inDrosophila development to determine sex.Genes Dev. 7, 1688–1702.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Flickinger T.W. and Salz H.K. 1994 TheDrosophila sex determination genesnf encodes a nuclear protein with sequence and functional similarity to the mammalian U1A snRNP protein.Genes Dev. 8, 914–925.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Granadino B., Campuzano S. and Sanchez L. 1990 The gtnefl(2)d is needed for variousSxl-controlled processes inDrosophila females.EMBO J. 9, 2597–2602.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Granadino B., San Juan A., Santamaria P. and Sanchez L. 1992 Evidence of a dual function infl(2)d, a gene needed forSexlethal expression inDrosophila melanogaster.Genetics 130, 597–612.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Hilfiker A., Amrein H., Dubendorfer A., Schneiter R. and Nothiger R. 1995 The genevirilizer is required for female-specific splicing controlled bySxl, the master gene for sexual development inDrosophila.Development 121, 4017–4026.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Horabin J.I. and Schedl P. 1993 Regulated splicing of theDrosophila Sex-lethal male exon involves a blockage mechanism.Mol. Cell. Biol. 13, 1408–1414.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. Kelly R.L., Solovyeva I., Lyman L.M., Richman R., Solovyev V. and Kuroda M.I. 1995 Expression ofmsl-2 causes assembly of dosage compensation regulators on the X chromosomes and female lethality inDrosophila.Cell 81, 867–877.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kuroda M.I., Palmer M.J., and Lucchesi J.C. 1993 X chromosome dosage compensation inDrosophila.Semin. Dev. Biol. 4, 107–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lefevre G. Jr. 1981 The distribution of randomly recovered X-ray induced sex-linked genetic effects inDrosophila melanogaster.Genetics 99, 461–480.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Lewis E.B. and Bacher F. 1968 A method of feeding ethylmethane sulfonate (EMS) toDrosophila melanogaster males.Drosophila Inf. Serv. 43, 193.Google Scholar
  29. Lindsley D.L. and Zimm G. 1992The genome of Drosophila melanogaster. Academic Press, San Diego.Google Scholar
  30. MacDougall C, Harbinson D. and Bownes M. 1995 The developmental consequences of alternate splicing in sex determination and differentiation inDrosophila.Dev. Biol. 172, 353–376.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mckeown M. 1992 Sex differentiation: the role of alternative splicing.Curr. Opin. Genet. Dev. 2, 299–303.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Oliver B., Perrimon N. and Mahowald A.P. 1988 Genetic evidence that thesans-fille locus is involved inDrosophila sex determination.Genetics 120, 159–171.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Pauli D. and Mahowald A.P. 1990 Germ-line sex determination inDrosophila melanogaster.Trends Genet. 6, 259–264.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Pultz M.A., Carson G.S. and Baker B.S. 1994 A genetic analysis ofhermaphrodite, a pleiotropic sex determination gene inDrosophila melanogaster.Genetics 136, 195–207.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Salz H. 1992 The genetic analysis ofsnf:A Drosophila sex determination gene required for activation ofSex-lethal in both germline and the soma.Genetics 130, 547–554.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Steinmann-Zwicky M. 1988 Sex determination inDrosophila: the X-chromosomal geneliz is required forSxl activity.EMBO J. 7, 3889–3898.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. Steinmann-Zwicky M. 1992 How do germ cells choose their sex?Drosophila as a paradigm.Bioassay 14, 513–518.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Steinmann-Zwicky M., Amrein H. and Nothiger R. 1990 Genetic control of sex determination inDrosophila.Adv. Genet. 27, 189–237.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Torres M. and Sanchez L. 1989 Thescute (T4) gene acts as a numerator element of the X: A signal that determines the state of activity ofSex-lethal inDrosophila.EMBO J. 8, 3079–3086.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Younger-Shepherd S., Vassin H., Bier E., Jan L.Y. and Jan Y.N. 1992deadpan, an essential pan-neural gene encoding an HLH acts as a denominator inDrosophila sex determination.Cell 70, 911–922.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anuranjan Anand
    • 1
    • 2
  • Aindrilla Dasgupta
    • 1
  • S. Sudha
    • 1
  • S. Raghavan
    • 3
  • H. Sharat Chandra
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Microbiology and Cell BiologyIndian Institute of ScienceBangaloreIndia
  2. 2.Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific ResearchJakkur, BangaloreIndia
  3. 3.National Centre for Biological Sciences, TIFR CentreIndian Institute of Science CampusBangaloreIndia

Personalised recommendations