The Drosophila seminal fluid protein Acp26Aa stimulates release of oocytes by the ovary

Yael Heifetz, Oliver Lung, Edward A. Frongillo, Mariana F. Wolfner*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

237 Scopus citations


Mating stimulates the rate of egg-laying by female insects. In Drosophila melanogaster this stimulation is initially caused by seminal fluid molecules transferred from the male (Acps or accessory gland proteins; reviewed in [1-3]). Egg-laying is a multi-step process. It begins with oocyte release by the ovaries, followed by egg movement down the oviducts and the deposition of eggs onto the substratum. Although two Acps are known to stimulate egg-laying [4,5], they were detected by assays that do not discriminate between the steps of this process or allow examination of its earliest changes [4-7]. To determine how egg-laying is regulated, we developed a generally applicable assay to separate the process into quantifiable steps, allowing us to assess the ovulation pattern and rate of egg movement. As the steps are interdependent yet potentially subject to independent controls, we determined the contribution of each step and effector independent of the others. We used a statistical method [8,9] that separately considers and quantifies each 'path' to a common end. We found that the prohormone-like molecule Acp26Aa [5,10] stimulates the first step in egg-laying - release of oocytes by the ovary. During mating, Acp26Aa begins to accumulate at the base of the ovaries, a position consistent with action on the ovarian musculature to mediate oocyte release. Understanding how individual Acps regulate egg-laying in fruitflies will help provide a full molecular picture of insects' prodigious fertility, of reproductive hormones, and of the roles of these rapidly evolving proteins [11,12].

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)99-102
Number of pages4
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2000
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank U. Tram, W.J. Swanson, J. Yu, S. Mani, M. Goldberg and J. Ewer for helpful comments on the manuscript. This research was supported by NSF grants (IBN97-23356 and IBN99-04824; to M.F.W.) and by a postdoctoral fellowship from BARD (FI-243-96; to Y.H.).


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