In Drosophila, genes expressed in males tend to accumulate on autosomes and are underrepresented on the X chromosome. In particular, genes expressed in testis have been observed to frequently relocate from the X chromosome to the autosomes. The inactivation of X-linked genes during male meiosis (i.e., meiotic sex chromosome inactivation - MSCI) was first proposed to explain male sterility caused by X-autosomal translocation in Drosophila, and more recently it was suggested that MSCI might provide the conditions under which selection would favor the accumulation of testis-expressed genes on autosomes. In order to investigate the impact of MSCI on Drosophila testis-expressed genes, we performed a global gene expression analysis of the three major phases of D. melanogaster spermatogenesis: mitosis, meiosis, and post-meiosis. First, we found evidence supporting the existence of MSCI by comparing the expression levels of X- and autosome-linked genes, finding the former to be significantly reduced in meiosis. Second, we observed that the paucity of X-linked testis-expressed genes was restricted to those genes highly expressed in meiosis. Third, we found that autosomal genes relocated through retroposition from the X chromosome were more often highly expressed in meiosis in contrast to their X-linked parents. These results suggest MSCI as a general mechanism affecting the evolution of some testis-expressed genes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Molecular Biology
- Cancer Research