Positive autoregulation of Sex-lethal by alternative splicing maintains the female determined state in Drosophila

Leslie R. Bell, Jamila I. Horabin, Paul Schedl, Thomas W. Cline

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

242 Scopus citations

Abstract

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 languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-239
Number of pages11
JournalCell
Volume65
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 19 1991

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Positive autoregulation of Sex-lethal by alternative splicing maintains the female determined state in Drosophila'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this