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Perfumed mutant males improve their ability to achieve copulation
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jvkohl
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Perfumed mutant males improve their ability to achieve copulation
06-11-2013 5:15 PM

In our 1996 Hormones and Behavior review article "From Fertilization to Adult Sexual Behavior" we (i.e., TB) wrote: "Small intranuclear proteins also participate in generating alternative splicing techniques of pre-mRNA and, by this mechanism, contribute to sexual differentiation in at least two species, Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans (Adler and Hajduk, 1994; de Bono, Zarkower, and Hodgkin, 1995; Ge, Zuo, and Manley, 1991; Green, 1991; Parkhurst and Meneely, 1994; Wilkins, 1995; Wolfner, 1988). That similar proteins perform functions in humans suggests the possibility that some human sex differences may arise from alternative splicings of otherwise identical genes."

Via the pheromones to neuroendocrine and immune system function link, I think we collectively predicted extension of the Drosophila findings detailed here in the context of nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution, which involves conserved molecular mechanisms in species from microbes to man, peppered moth species included, of course. This eliminates mutations theory and the focus on visual input in the moths and in other species, which should have been eliminated from consideration in the context of adaptive evolution circa 1959 when the term pheromones was first defined.

"Mutant males perfumed with cVA showed a significant improvement in their ability to achieve copulation with control females." Even with the obvious differences in our adaptively evolved socio-cognitive niche construction (e.g., compared to insects like flies), this information may increase sales of human pheromone-enhanced fragrance products.

eLife digest of miR-124 controls male reproductive success in Drosophila

"Like many animals, the fruit fly Drosophila uses pheromones to influence sexual behaviour, with males and females producing different versions of these chemicals. One of the pheromones produced by male flies, for example, is a chemical called 11-cis-vaccenyl-acetate (cVA), which is an aphrodisiac for female flies and an anti-aphrodisiac for males.

The production of the correct pheromones in each sex is genetically controlled using a process called splicing that allows a single gene to be expressed as two or more different proteins. A variety of proteins called splicing factors ensures that splicing results in the production of the correct pheromones for each sex. Sometimes, however, the process by which sex genes are expressed as proteins can be "ňúleaky', which results in the wrong proteins being produced for one or both sexes.

Small RNA molecules called microRNAs act in some genetic pathways to limit the leaky expression of genes, and a microRNA called miR-124 carries out this function in the developing brain Drosophila. Now, Weng et al. show that miR-124 also helps to regulate sex-specific splicing and thereby to control pheromone production and sexual behaviour.

Mutant male flies lacking miR-124 were less successful than wild-type males at mating with female flies, and were almost always rejected if a female fly was given a choice between a mutant male and a wild-type male. Moreover, both wild-type and mutant male flies were more likely to initiate courtship behaviour towards another male if it lacked miR-124 than if it did not.

The mutant male flies produced less cVA than wild-type males, but more of other pheromones called pentacosenes, which is consistent with the observed behaviour because cVA attracts females and repels males, whereas pentacosenes act as aphrodisiacs for male flies in large amounts. Weng et al. showed that these changes in the production of pheromones were caused by an increased expression of the female version of a splicing factor called transformer in the mutant males, but further work is needed to understand this process in detail."

James V. Kohl
Clinical Laboratory Scientist (ASCLS)
Medical Laboratory Scientist (ASCP)
Medical Technologist (AMT)
Author/Creator: The Scent of Eros
06-11-2013 5:15 PM
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