Tribolium castaneum Transformer-2 regulates sex determination and development in both males and females

Jayendra Nath Shukla, Subba Reddy Palli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations

Abstract

Tribolium castaneum Transformer (TcTra) is essential for female sex determination and maintenance through the regulation of sex-specific splicing of doublesex (dsx) pre-mRNA. In females, TcTra also regulates the sex-specific splicing of its own pre-mRNA to ensure continuous production of functional Tra protein. Transformer protein is absent in males and hence dsx pre-mRNA is spliced in a default mode. The mechanisms by which males inhibit the production of functional Tra protein are not known. Here, we report on functional characterization of transformer-2 (tra-2) gene (an ortholog of Drosophila transformer-2) in T.castaneum. RNA interference-mediated knockdown in the expression of gene coding for tra-2 in female pupae or adults resulted in the production of male-specific isoform of dsx and both female and male isoforms of tra suggesting that Tra-2 is essential for the female-specific splicing of tra and dsx pre-mRNAs. Interestingly, knockdown of tra-2 in males did not affect the splicing of dsx but resulted in the production of both female and male isoforms of tra suggesting that Tra-2 suppresses female-specific splicing of tra pre-mRNA in males. This dual regulation of sex-specific splicing of tra pre-mRNA ensures a tight regulation of sex determination and maintenance. These data suggest a critical role for Tra-2 in suppression of female sex determination cascade in males. In addition, RNAi studies showed that Tra-2 is also required for successful embryonic and larval development in both sexes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1125-1132
Number of pages8
JournalInsect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Volume43
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by National Institutes of Health ( GM070559-09 ). The information reported in this paper (No. 13-08-117) is part of a project of the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station and is published with the approval of the Director.

Keywords

  • Alternative splicing
  • Doublesex
  • RNAi
  • Sex determination
  • Transformer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science

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