Sexual orientation and courtship behavior in Drosophila are regulated by fruitless (fru), the first gene in a branch of the sex-determination hierarchy functioning specifically in the central nervous system (CNS). The phenotypes of new fru mutants encompass nearly all aspects of male sexual behavior. Alternative splicing of fru transcripts produces sex-specific proteins belonging to the BTB-ZF family of transcriptional regulators. The sex-specific fru products are produced in only about 500 of the 105 neurons that comprise the CNS. The properties of neurons expressing these fru products suggest that fru specifies the fates or activities of neurons that carry out higher order control functions to elicit and coordinate the activities comprising male courtship behavior.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)