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Conservation of fruitless’ role as master regulator of male courtship behaviour from cockroaches to flies

AuthorsClynen, Elke; Ciudad, Laura ; Bellés, Xavier ; Piulachs, Maria-Dolors
KeywordsBlattella germanica
Courtship behaviour
Issue Date21-Feb-2011
CitationDevelopment Genes and Evolution 221(1): 43-48 (2011)
AbstractIn Drosophila melanogaster, male courtship behaviour is regulated by the fruitless gene. In D. melanogaster, fruitless encodes a set of putative transcription factors that are sex-specifically spliced. Male-specific variants are necessary and sufficient to elicit male courtship behaviour. Fruitless sequences have been reported in other insect species, but there are no data available on their functional role. In the present work, we cloned and sequenced fruitless in males of the German cockroach, Blattella germanica, and we studied its expression in male brain and testes. B. germanica fruitless encodes a 350-amino acid protein with BTB and Zinc finger domains typical of fruitless sequences. Upon RNAi-mediated knockdown of fruitless in B. germanica, males no longer exhibit courtship behaviour, thus implying that fruitless is necessary for male sexual behaviour in our cockroach model. This suggests that the role of fruitless as master regulator of male sexual behaviour has been conserved along insect evolution, at least from cockroaches to flies.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00427-011-0352-x
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