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Postmating transcriptional changes in brains of con- and heterospecifically mated Drosophila mojavensis females


The act of mating changes the physiological state and behavior of Drosophila females. The mechanisms by which these events take place are not well understood. By describing the transcriptional changes in females associated with mating, one can begin to understand the mechanisms of the female postmating response. I used whole genome microarrays to compare gene transcription levels in the brains of Drosophila mojavensis virgin and mated females. Statistically significant gene expression changes between virgin and conspecifically mated females were not observed. I also compared the brains of females mated conspecifically with D. mojavensis males to the brains of females mated heterospecifically to males from a closely related species, D. arizonae. In samples taken two hours after a heterospecific mating, 145 genes were differentially expressed. A GO analysis of the differentially expressed genes shows enrichment in terms involving nucleotide binding, hormones, behavior, and odorant binding. Transcripts for GI15991 (corresponding to Acp32CD in D. melanogaster) were higher in conspecifically mated females and lower in heterospecifically mated females compared to virgin females. This result was unexpected because Acps are typically not expressed in females. Results from this study suggest that mating influences expression patterns in female D. mojavensis brains, especially if the male is from a different species

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