Formation of the male-specific muscle in female Drosophila by ectopic fruitless expression

Kazue Usui-Aoki, Hiroki Ito, Kumiko Ui-Tei, Kuniaki Takahashi, Tamas Lukacsovich, Wakae Awano, Hiromi Nakata, Zheng Fu Piao, Eric E. Nilsson, Jun Ya Tomida, Daisuke Yamamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Citations (Scopus)


The Drosophila fruitless (fru) gene product Fru has been postulated to be a neural sex-determination factor that directs the development of at least two male-specific characteristics, namely courtship behaviour and formation of the muscle of Lawrence (MOL). The fru gene encodes a putative transcription factor with a BTB domain and two zinc-finger motifs, and with consensus Tra-binding sequences. The binding of Tra to these sequences results in sex-specific alternative splicing of the fru mRNA, leading to production of the 'male-type' or 'female-type' Fru protein. We show here that the Fru protein is not detected in the female central nervous system (CNS), despite the similar level of expression of fru mRNA in both male and female CNS. As ectopic expression of both the 'male-type' (with the sequence for the amino-terminal extension) and 'female-type' (without the sequence for the amino-terminal extension) fru cDNA can induce formation of the MOL in females, the presence or absence of the Fru protein, and not its sex-specific structure, seems to be responsible for the sexually dimorphic actions of the fru gene.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)500-506
Number of pages7
JournalNature cell biology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2000 Aug
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology


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