, Volume 213, Issue 7, pp 345-354
Date: 06 May 2003

Analysis of the biological functions of a doublesex homologue in Bombyx mori

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We have previously reported that Bmdsx, a homologue of the sex-determining gene doublesex (dsx), was sex-specifically expressed in various tissues of the silkworm. The primary transcript of Bmdsx is alternatively spliced in males and females to yield sex-specific mRNAs that encode male-specific (BmDSXM) and female-specific (BmDSXF) polypeptides. In the studies reported here, we expressed BmDSXF in males from a ubiquitous promoter and examined its regulatory activities. We show that BmDSXF functions as a positive regulator of the hexameric storage protein termed SP1 and vitellogenin genes that are predominantly expressed in females. We also show that expression of Bmdsx F in males results in the repression of the pheromone-binding protein gene that is preferentially expressed in males. Gel-mobility shift assays demonstrated that BmDSX proteins bind to the sequence (ACATTGT) between −95 and −89 nt relative to the transcriptional initiation site of the vitellogenin gene. These results strongly suggest that Bmdsx is a final regulatory gene in the hierarchy of regulatory genes controlling the expression of female-specific protein in Bombyx mori.

Edited by N. Satoh