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Zhou, S., Stone, E.A., Mackay, T.F., Anholt, R.R. (2009). Plasticity of the chemoreceptor repertoire in Drosophila melanogaster.  PLoS Genet. 5(10): e1000681.
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Research paper

For most organisms, chemosensation is critical for survival and is mediated by large families of chemoreceptor proteins, whose expression must be tuned appropriately to changes in the chemical environment. We asked whether expression of chemoreceptor genes that are clustered in the genome would be regulated independently; whether expression of certain chemoreceptor genes would be especially sensitive to environmental changes; whether groups of chemoreceptor genes undergo coordinated rexpression; and how plastic the expression of chemoreceptor genes is with regard to sex, development, reproductive state, and social context. To answer these questions we used Drosophila melanogaster, because its chemosensory systems are well characterized and both the genotype and environment can be controlled precisely. Using customized cDNA microarrays, we showed that chemoreceptor genes that are clustered in the genome undergo independent transcriptional regulation at different developmental stages and between sexes. Expression of distinct subgroups of chemoreceptor genes is sensitive to reproductive state and social interactions. Furthermore, exposure of flies only to odor of the opposite sex results in altered transcript abundance of chemoreceptor genes. These genes are distinct from those that show transcriptional plasticity when flies are allowed physical contact with same or opposite sex members. We analyzed covariance in transcript abundance of chemosensory genes across all environmental conditions and found that they segregated into 20 relatively small, biologically relevant modules of highly correlated transcripts. This finely pixilated modular organization of the chemosensory subgenome enables fine tuning of the expression of the chemoreceptor repertoire in response to ecologically relevant environmental and physiological conditions.

PubMed ID
PubMed Central ID
PMC2750752 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
Related Publication(s)

Tuning the chemosensory window: A fly's perspective.
Zhou et al., 2010, Fly 4(3): 230--235 [FBrf0216348]

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    Publication Type
    PLoS Genet.
    PLoS Genetics
    Publication Year
    1553-7404 1553-7390
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