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Genes Dev. 1990 Jan;4(1):89-97.

Regulation of sex-specific RNA splicing at the Drosophila doublesex gene: cis-acting mutations in exon sequences alter sex-specific RNA splicing patterns.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, California 94305-5020.


Sex-specific alternative RNA splicing of the doublesex (dsx) pre-mRNA results in sex-specific polypeptides that regulate both male and female somatic sexual differentiation in Drosophila melanogaster. We have molecularly characterized a class of dsx mutations that act in cis to disrupt the regulation of dsx RNA processing, causing the dsx pre-mRNA to be spliced in the male-specific pattern regardless of the chromosomal sex of the fly. These dsx mutations are associated with rearrangements in the female-specific exon just 3' to the female-specific splice acceptor. The mutations do not affect the female-specific splice sites or intron that are identical to wild-type sequences. These results indicate that sequences in the female-specific exon are important for the regulation of sex-specific RNA splicing, perhaps by acting as sites of interaction with trans-acting regulators. Furthermore, the data suggest that female-specific regulation of dsx RNA processing occurs by promoting the usage of the female splice acceptor site, rather than by repressing the usage of the alternative male-specific splice acceptor.

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