Sex-lethal is a binary switch gene that controls all aspects of Drosophila sexual dimorphism. It must be active in females and inactive in males. The on/off regulation reflects alternative RNA splicing in which full-length proteins are produced only in females. Here we investigate the role of Sxl in maintaining sexual pathway commitments. By ectopic expression of a female Sxl cDNA in transgenic male flies, we show that Sxl protein induces a rapid switch from male- to female-specific splicing. The ectopically expressed Sxl protein will trans-activate an endogenous wild-type Sxl gene. This establishes a feedback loop in which Sxl proteins induce their own synthesis by directing the female-specific splicing of Sxl transcripts. We conclude that the female determined state is maintained by Sxl through positive autoregulation, while the male determined state is maintained by default.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||11|
|State||Published - Apr 19 1991|
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)