Chinmo is sufficient to induce male fate in somatic cells of the adult Drosophila ovary

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Sexual identity is continuously maintained in specific differentiated cell types long after sex determination occurs during development. In the adult Drosophila testis, the putative transcription factor Chronologically inappropriate morphogenesis (Chinmo) acts with the canonical male sex determinant DoublesexM (DsxM) to maintain the male identity of somatic cyst stem cells and their progeny. Herewe find that ectopic expression of chinmo is sufficient to induce a male identity in adult ovarian somatic cells, but it acts through a DsxMindependent mechanism. Conversely, the feminization of the testis somatic stem cell lineage caused by loss of chinmo is enhanced by expression of the canonical female sex determinant DsxF, indicating that chinmo acts in parallel with the canonical sex determination pathway to maintain the male identity of testis somatic cells. Consistent with this finding, ectopic expression of female sex determinants in the adult testis disrupts tissue morphology. The miRNA let-7 downregulates chinmo in many contexts, and ectopic expression of let-7 in the adult testis is sufficient to recapitulate the chinmo loss-of-function phenotype, but we find no apparent phenotypes upon removal of let-7 in the adult ovary or testis. Our finding that chinmo is necessary and sufficient to promote a male identity in adult gonadal somatic cells suggests that the sexual identity of somatic cells can be reprogrammed in the adult Drosophila ovary as well as in the testis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)754-763
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2016


  • Jak-STAT signaling
  • Niche
  • Ovary
  • Sex maintenance
  • Stem cell
  • Testis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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