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Mol Cell. 2000 Mar;5(3):581-7.

The JAK/STAT signaling pathway is required for the initial choice of sexual identity in Drosophila melanogaster.

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Department of Molecular Biology, Princeton University, New Jersey 08544, USA.


The choice of sexual identity in Drosophila is determined by a system that measures the X chromosome to autosome ratio (X/A). This system depends upon unequal expression of X-linked numerator genes in 1X and 2X nuclei. The numerators activate a special Sxl promoter, Sxl-Pe, in 2X/2A nuclei, but not 1X/2A nuclei. By multimerizing a conserved Sxl-Pe sequence block, we generated a gain-of-function promoter, Sxl-PeGOF, that is inappropriately active in 1X/2A nuclei. GOF activity requires the X-linked unpaired (upd) gene, which encodes a ligand for the Drosophila JAK/STAT signaling pathway. upd also functions as a numerator element in regulating wild-type Sxl-Pe reporters. We demonstrate that the JAK kinase, Hopscotch, and the STAT DNA-binding protein, Marelle, are also required for Sxl-Pe activation.

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