In insects, rapidly evolving primary sex-determining signals are transduced by a conserved regulatory module producing sex-specific proteins that direct sex determination and sexual differentiation1-4. In the agricultural pest Ceratitis capitata (medfly), a Y-linked maleness factor (M) is thought to repress the autoregulatory splicing of transformer (Cctra), which is required in XX individuals to establish and maintain female sex determination5,6. Despite previous attempts of isolating Y-linked genes using the medfly whole genome, the M factor has remained elusive7. Here, we report the identification of a Y-linked gene, Maleness-on the-Y (MoY), and show that it encodes a small novel protein which is both necessary and sufficient for medfly male sex determination. Transient silencing of MoY in XY individuals leads to the development of fertile females while transient expression of MoY in XX individuals results in fertile males. Notably, a cross between these sex reverted individuals gives rise to both fertile males and females indicating that a functional MoY can be maternally transmitted. In contrast to the diversity of M factors found in dipteran species8-11, we discovered MoY orthologues in seven other Tephritid species spanning ~111 millions of years of evolution (Mya). We confirmed their male determining function in the olive fly (Bactrocera oleae) and the oriental fruit fly (Bactrocera dorsalis). This unexpected conservation of the primary MoY signal in a large number of important agricultural pests12 will facilitate the development of transferable genetic control strategies in these species, for example sterile male releases or sex-ratio-distorting gene drives.

Maleness-on-the-Y (MoY) orchestrates male sex determination in major agricultural fruit fly pests

Gucciardino M. A.;Papathanos P. A.
;
2019

Abstract

In insects, rapidly evolving primary sex-determining signals are transduced by a conserved regulatory module producing sex-specific proteins that direct sex determination and sexual differentiation1-4. In the agricultural pest Ceratitis capitata (medfly), a Y-linked maleness factor (M) is thought to repress the autoregulatory splicing of transformer (Cctra), which is required in XX individuals to establish and maintain female sex determination5,6. Despite previous attempts of isolating Y-linked genes using the medfly whole genome, the M factor has remained elusive7. Here, we report the identification of a Y-linked gene, Maleness-on the-Y (MoY), and show that it encodes a small novel protein which is both necessary and sufficient for medfly male sex determination. Transient silencing of MoY in XY individuals leads to the development of fertile females while transient expression of MoY in XX individuals results in fertile males. Notably, a cross between these sex reverted individuals gives rise to both fertile males and females indicating that a functional MoY can be maternally transmitted. In contrast to the diversity of M factors found in dipteran species8-11, we discovered MoY orthologues in seven other Tephritid species spanning ~111 millions of years of evolution (Mya). We confirmed their male determining function in the olive fly (Bactrocera oleae) and the oriental fruit fly (Bactrocera dorsalis). This unexpected conservation of the primary MoY signal in a large number of important agricultural pests12 will facilitate the development of transferable genetic control strategies in these species, for example sterile male releases or sex-ratio-distorting gene drives.
2019
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11391/1461539
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