In fruit flies, the male-specific fruitless (fru) gene product FruBM plays a central role in establishing the neural circuitry for male courtship behavior by orchestrating the transcription of genes required for the male-type specification of individual neurons. We herein identify the core promoter recognition factor gene Trf2 as a dominant modifier of fru actions. Trf2 knockdown in the sexually dimorphic mAL neurons leads to the loss of a male-specific neurite and a reduction in male courtship vigor. TRF2 forms a repressor complex with FruBM, strongly enhancing the repressor activity of FruBM at the promoter region of the robo1 gene, whose function is required for inhibiting the male-specific neurite formation. In females that lack FruBM, TRF2 stimulates robo1 transcription. Our results suggest that TRF2 switches its own role from an activator to a repressor of transcription upon binding to FruBM, thereby enabling the ipsilateral neurite formation only in males.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Physics and Astronomy(all)