Involvement of desat1 gene in the control of Drosophila melanogaster pheromone biosynthesis.
ABSTRACT Cuticular pheromones in Drosophila melanogaster are unsaturated hydrocarbons with at least one double bond in position 7: 7-tricosene and 7-pentacosene in males and 7,11 -heptacosadiene and 7,11 -nonacosadiene in females. We have previously shown that a desaturase gene, desat1, located in chromosome region 87 C could be involved in this process: the Desat1 enzyme preferentially leads to the synthesis of palmitoleic acid, a precursor of omega7 fatty acids and 7-unsaturated hydrocarbons. Therefore, we have searched for P-elements in the 87 region and mapped them. One was found inserted into the first intron of the desat1 gene. Flies heterozygous for this insertion showed a large decrease in the level of 7-unsaturated hydrocarbons, comparable to that observed in flies heterozygous for a deficiency overlapping desat1. Less than 1 % of flies homozygous for this insertion were viable. They were characterized by dramatic pheromone decreases. After excision of the transposon, the pheromone phenotype was reversed in 69% of the lines and the other excision lines had more or less decreased amounts of 7-unsaturated hydrocarbons. All these results implicate desat1 in the synthesis of Drosophila pheromones.
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ABSTRACT: Drosophila melanogaster cuticular pheromones consist of unsaturated hydrocarbons with at least one double bond in position 7: 7 tricosene (T) in males and 7,11 heptacosadiene (HD) in females. However, in many African populations like the Tai strain, females possess low levels of 7,11 HD and high levels of its positional isomer 5,9 HD. We have previously isolated a desaturase gene, desat1, from the Canton-S strain (CS), a 7,11 HD-2-rich morph of D. melanogaster. This desaturase is located in 87C, a locus that has been involved in the difference between 7,11 HD and 5,9 HD morphs. Therefore, we have searched for different desaturase isoforms in both strains. We first cloned desat1 in the Tai strain and report here functional expression of desat1 in CS and Tai. In both strains, the Desat1 enzymes have the same Delta9 specificity and preferentially use palmitate as a substrate, leading to the synthesis of omega7 fatty acids. Also found was a desaturase sequence, named desat2, with a homologous catalytic domain and a markedly different N-terminal domain compared with desat1. In CS genome, it lies 3.8 kb upstream of desat1 and is not transcribed in either sex. In the Tai strain, it is expressed only in females and acts preferentially on myristate, leading to the synthesis of omega5 fatty acids. We suggest, therefore, that desat2 might play a control role in the biosynthesis of 5,9 HD hydrocarbons in Tai females and could explain the dienic hydrocarbon polymorphism in D. melanogaster.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 09/2000; 97(17):9449-54. · 9.74 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: The Hsp90 chaperone protein maintains the activities of a remarkable variety of signal transducers, but its most critical functions in the context of the whole organism are unknown. Point mutations of Hsp83 (the Drosophila Hsp90 gene) obtained in two different screens are lethal as homozygotes. We report that eight transheterozygous mutant combinations produce viable adults. All exhibit the same developmental defects: sterile males and sterile or weakly fertile females. We also report that scratch, a previously identified male-sterile mutation, is an allele of Hsp82 with a P-element insertion in the intron that reduces expression. Thus, it is a simple reduction in Hsp90 function, rather than possible altered functions in the point mutants, that leads to male sterility. As shown by light and electron microscopy, all stages of spermatogenesis involving microtubule function are affected, from early mitotic divisions to later stages of sperm maturation, individualization, and motility. Aberrant microtubules are prominent in yeast cells carrying mutations in HSP82 (the yeast Hsp90 gene), confirming that Hsp90 function is connected to microtubule dynamics and that this connection is highly conserved. A small fraction of Hsp90 copurifies with taxol-stabilized microtubule proteins in Drosophila embryo extracts, but Hsp90 does not remain associated with microtubules through repeated temperature-induced assembly and disassembly reactions. If the spermatogenesis phenotypes are due to defects in microtubule dynamics, we suggest these are indirect, reflecting a role for Hsp90 in maintaining critical signal transduction pathways and microtubule effectors, rather than a direct role in the assembly and disassembly of microtubules themselves.Genetics 04/1999; 151(3):1065-79. · 4.39 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Drosophila melanogaster is sexually dimorphic for cuticular hydrocarbons, with males and females having strikingly different profiles of the long-chain compounds that act as contact pheromones. Gas-chromatographic analysis of sexual mosaics reveals that the sex specificity of hydrocarbons is located in the abdomen. This explains previous observations that D. melanogaster males display the strongest courtship toward mosaics with female abdomens. We also show that males of the sibling species Drosophila simulans preferentially court D. melanogaster mosaics with male abdomens. Because the primary male hydrocarbon in D. melanogaster is also the primary female hydrocarbon in D. simulans, this supports the idea that interspecific differences in cuticular hydrocarbons contribute to sexual isolation.Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 11/1995; 92(21):9505-9. · 9.74 Impact Factor