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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 May 10;108(19):7878-83. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1100388108. Epub 2011 Apr 25.

Postmating transcriptional changes in reproductive tracts of con- and heterospecifically mated Drosophila mojavensis females.

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Department of Biology, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, CO 80918, USA.


In internally fertilizing organisms, mating involves a series of highly coordinated molecular interactions between the sexes that occur within the female reproductive tract. In species where females mate multiply, traits involved in postcopulatory interactions are expected to evolve rapidly, potentially leading to postmating-prezygotic (PMPZ) reproductive isolation between diverging populations. Here, we investigate the postmating transcriptional response of the lower reproductive tract of Drosophila mojavensis females following copulation with either conspecific or heterospecific (Drosophila arizonae) males at three time points postmating. Relatively few genes (15 total) were differentially regulated in the female lower reproductive tract in response to conspecific mating. Heterospecifically mated females exhibited significant perturbations in the expression of the majority of these genes, and also down-regulated transcription of a number of others, including several involved in mitochondrial function. These striking regulatory differences indicate failed postcopulatory molecular interactions between the sexes consistent with the strong PMPZ isolation observed for this cross. We also report the transfer of male accessory-gland protein (Acp) transcripts from males to females during copulation, a finding with potentially broad implications for understanding postcopulatory molecular interactions between the sexes.

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