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Maternal provision of transformer-2 is required for female development and embryo viability in the wasp Nasonia vitripennis

Geuverink, E., Rensink, A. H., Rondeel, I., Beukeboom, L. W., van de Zande, L. & Verhulst, E. C., Nov-2017, In : Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. 90, p. 23-33 11 p.

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In insect sex determination a primary signal starts the genetic sex determination cascade that, in most insect orders, is subsequently transduced down the cascade by a transformer (tra) ortholog. Only a female-specifically spliced tra mRNA yields a functional TRA-protein that forms a complex with TRA2, encoded by a transformer-2 (tra2) ortholog, to act as a sex specific splicing regulator of the downstream transcription factors doublesex (dsx) and fruitless (fru). Here, we identify the tra2 ortholog of the haplodiploid parasitoid wasp N. vitripennis (Nv-tra2) and confirm its function in N. vitripennis sex determination. Knock down of Nv-tra2 by parental RNA interference (pRNAi) results in complete sex reversal of diploid offspring from female to male, indicating the requirement of Nv-tra2 for female sex determination. As Nv-tra2 pRNAi leads to frequent lethality in early developmental stages, maternal provision of Nv-tra2 transcripts is apparently also required for another, non-sex determining function during embryogenesis. In addition, lethality following Nv-tra2 pRNAi appears more pronounced in diploid than in haploid offspring. This diploid lethal effect was also observed following Nv-tra pRNAi, which served as a positive control in our experiments. As diploid embryos from fertilized eggs have a paternal chromosome set in addition to the maternal one, this suggests that either the presence of this paternal chromosome set or the dosage effect resulting from the diploid state is incompatible with the induced male development in N. vitripennis caused by either Nv-tra2 or Nv-tra pRNAi. The role of Nv-tra2 in activating the female sex determination pathway yields more insight into the sex determination mechanism of Nasonia. (C) 2017 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-33
Number of pages11
JournalInsect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Volume90
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2017

    Keywords

  • Sex determination, RNA interference, Transformer-2, Transformer, Nasonia vitripennis, Diploid males, HAPLODIPLOID SEX DETERMINATION, PRE-MESSENGER-RNA, DETERMINATION PATHWAY, GENE TRANSFORMER-2, DOUBLESEX, HYMENOPTERA, INSECTS, DIPTERA, CHALCIDOIDEA, KNOCKDOWN

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