Genes & Genetic Systems
Online ISSN : 1880-5779
Print ISSN : 1341-7568
ISSN-L : 1341-7568
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A new allele of engrailed, enNK14, causes supernumerary spermathecae in Drosophila melanogaster
Yasuko KatoAkiko SawadaKazuki TonaiHisashi TatsunoTakahisa UenoyamaMasanobu Itoh
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2021 Volume 96 Issue 6 Pages 259-269


A spontaneous mutation, enNK14, was a new allele of engrailed (en) in Drosophila melanogaster. Females of enNK14 have three spermathecae, instead of two in wild type, under a wide range of developmental temperatures, while the males show no abnormal phenotype. Spermathecae of the mutant female can accept inseminated sperms, albeit with a delay of at least an hour until full acceptance compared with wild type. The time course of decrease in the number of stored sperms was thoroughly similar between the mutant and wild type. enNK14 females produced fewer progeny than wild type females despite storing a larger number of sperms. The delay of sperm entry and lower fecundity suggested some functional defects in secretory products of the spermathecae. In addition, some spermathecae in the mutant were accompanied by a mass of brown pigments in the adipose tissue surrounding the capsule. Six contiguous amino acids, Ser340–Ala345, were replaced by one Thr in enNK14. In another mutant, enspt, Ser325 was also shown to be substituted by a Cys. These amino acid changes were located within a serine-rich region, in which Ser325, Ser340 and Thr341 were suggested as targets of Protein Kinase C by an in silico analysis. The splicing pattern of en mRNA did not differ between enNK14 and wild type in embryo, larva, pupa or adult. Our results suggest that en plays an important role in determining the number of spermathecae as well as in sperm storage function in the Drosophila female.

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