Article

Hens, cocks and avian sex determination. A quest for genes on Z or W?

Department of Evolutionary Biology, Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Norbyvägen 18D, SE-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden.
EMBO Reports (Impact Factor: 7.19). 04/2001; 2(3):192-6. DOI: 10.1093/embo-reports/kve050
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The sex of an individual is generally determined genetically by genes on one of the two sex chromosomes. In mammals, for instance, the presence of the male-specific Y chromosome confers maleness, whereas in Drosophila melanogaster and CAENORHABDITIS: elegans it is the number of X chromosomes that matters. For birds (males ZZ, females ZW), however, the situation remains unclear. The recent discovery that the Z-linked DMRT1 gene, which is conserved across phyla as a gene involved in sexual differentiation, is expressed early in male development suggests that it might be the number of Z chromosomes that regulate sex in birds. On the other hand, the recent identification of the first protein unique to female birds, encoded by the W-linked PKCIW gene, and the observation that it is expressed early in female gonads, suggests that the W chromosome plays a role in avian sexual differentiation. Clearly defining the roles of the DMRT1 and PKC1W genes in gonadal development, and ultimately determining whether avian sex is dependent on Z or W, will require transgenic experiments.

0 Bookmarks
 · 
50 Views
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The molecular mechanism of sex determination in birds has long remained mysterious. Genetically male chicken embryos, which have two Z sex chromosomes, develop female gonads when the Z chromosome-linked gene DMRT1 is knocked out. This suggests that sex is determined by Z chromosome dosage.
    Current biology: CB 10/2009; 19(19):R909-10. · 10.99 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: HIT (histidine triad) proteins, named for a motif related to the sequence HphiHphiHphiphi (phi, a hydrophobic amino acid), are a superfamily of nucleotide hydrolases and transferases, which act on the alpha-phosphate of ribonucleotides, and contain a approximately 30 kDa domain that is typically either a homodimer of approximately 15 kDa polypeptides with two active-sites or an internally, imperfectly repeated polypeptide that retains a single HIT active site. On the basis of sequence, substrate specificity, structure, evolution, and mechanism, HIT proteins can be classified into the Hint branch, which consists of adenosine 5'-monophosphoramide hydrolases, the Fhit branch, which consists of diadenosine polyphosphate hydrolases, and the GalT branch, which consists of specific nucleoside monophosphate transferases, including galactose-1-phosphate uridylyltransferase, diadenosine tetraphosphate phosphorylase, and adenylyl sulfate:phosphate adenylytransferase. At least one human representative of each branch is lost in human diseases. Aprataxin, a Hint branch hydrolase, is mutated in ataxia-oculomotor apraxia syndrome. Fhit is lost early in the development of many epithelially derived tumors. GalT is deficient in galactosemia. Additionally, ASW is an avian Hint family member that has evolved to have unusual gene expression properties and the complete loss of its nucleotide binding site. The potential roles of ASW and Hint in avian sexual development are discussed elsewhere. Here we review what is known about biological activities of HIT proteins, the structural and biochemical bases for their functions, and propose a new enzyme mechanism for Hint and Fhit that may account for the differences between HIT hydrolases and transferases.
    Biochemistry 08/2002; 41(29):9003-14. · 3.38 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In birds males carry ZZ and females ZW sex chromosomes, and it has been proposed that there is no dosage compensation in the expression of sex-linked genes. However, recent data suggest the opposite, indicating that male and female birds might demonstrate similar levels of expression of Z-linked genes. If they do, the equalization between the sexes is probably not achieved by inactivation of one of the male Z chromosomes. Other possible mechanisms include the transcription of Z-linked genes being upregulated in females or downregulated in males, or equalization at the translation stage in either sex. A recently identified hypermethylated region on the Z chromosome, with similarities to the X inactivation centre on the mammalian X chromosome, might play a part in this process or have a role in avian sex determination.
    Trends in Genetics 02/2002; 18(1):25-8. · 9.77 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

View
0 Downloads