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Insect Mol Biol. 2006 Aug;15(4):465-73.

A female-specific desaturase gene responsible for diene hydrocarbon biosynthesis and courtship behaviour in Drosophila melanogaster.

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Université Paris-Sud, UMR 8620, NAMC, Bât. 446, 91405 ORSAY Cédex, France.


Drosophila melanogaster shows sexually dimorphic cuticular hydrocarbons, with monoenes produced in males and dienes produced in females. Here we describe a female-specific desaturase gene, desatF. RNAi knock-down led to a dramatic decrease in female dienes and increase in monoenes paralleled with an increase in copulation latency and a decrease in courtship index and copulation attempts by the males. The desatF gene was also expressed in females from D. sechellia, rich in dienes, but not D. simulans, which produce only monoenes. When hydrocarbons were feminized in D. melanogaster males by targeted expression of the transformer gene, the expression of desatF occurred. These results strongly suggest that desatF is a crucial enzyme for female pheromone biosynthesis and courtship behaviour in D. melanogaster.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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