Roles of Female and Male Genotype in Post-Mating Responses in Drosophila melanogaster

Sofie Y.N. Delbare, Clement Y. Chow, Mariana F. Wolfner, Andrew G. Clark, Melissa Wilson Sayres

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Mating induces a multitude of changes in female behavior, physiology, and gene expression. Interactions between female and male genotype lead to variation in post-mating phenotypes and reproductive success. So far, few female molecules responsible for these interactions have been identified. Here, we used Drosophila melanogaster from 5 geographically dispersed populations to investigate such female × male genotypic interactions at the female transcriptomic and phenotypic levels. Females from each line were singly-mated to males from the same 5 lines, for a total of 25 combinations. Reproductive output and refractoriness to re-mating were assayed in females from the 25 mating combinations. Female × male genotypic interactions resulted in significant differences in these post-mating phenotypes. To assess whether female × male genotypic interactions affect the female post-mating transcriptome, next-generation RNA sequencing was performed on virgin and mated females at 5 to 6 h post-mating. Seventy-seven genes showed strong variation in matinginduced expression changes in a female × male genotype-dependent manner. These genes were enriched for immune response and odorant-binding functions, and for expression exclusively in the head. Strikingly, variation in post-mating transcript levels of a gene encoding a spermathecal endopeptidase was correlated with short-term egg production. The transcriptional variation found in specific functional classes of genes might be a read-out of female × male compatibility at a molecular level. Understanding the roles these genes play in the female post-mating response will be crucial to better understand the evolution of post-mating responses and related conflicts between the sexes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)740-753
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Heredity
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Female×male genotype interactions
  • Global Diversity Lines
  • Immune system
  • Reproduction
  • Sexual conflict
  • Transcriptome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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