Regulation of the gene Sex-lethal: A comparative analysis of Drosophila melanogaster and Drosophila subobscura

Luiz O.F. Penalva, Hiroshi Sakamoto, Aurea Navarro-Sabaté, Eiji Sakashita, Begoña Granadino, Carmen Segarra, Lucas Sánchez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The Drosophila gene Sex-lethal (Sxl) controls the processes of sex determination and dosage compensation. A Drosophila subobscura genomic fragment containing all the exons and the late and early promotors in the Sxl gene of D. melanogaster was isolated. Early Sxl expression in D. subobscura seems to be controlled at the transcriptional level, possibly by the X:A signal. In the region upstream of the early Sxl transcription initiation site are two conserved regions suggested to be involved in the early activation of Sxl. Late Sxl expression in D. subobscura produces four transcripts in adult females and males. In males, the transcripts have an additional exon which contains three translational stop codons so that a truncated, presumably nonfunctional Sxl protein is produced. The Sxl pre-mRNA of D. subobscura lacks the poly-U sequence presented at the polypirimidine tract of the 3' splice site of the male-specific exon present in D. melanogaster. Introns 2 and 3 contain the Sxl-binding poly-U stretches, whose localization in intron 2 varies but in intron 3 is conserved. The Sxl protein is fully conserved at the amino acid level in both species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1653-1664
Number of pages12
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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