The development of sexual dimorphism

Studies of the Caenorhabditis elegans male

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13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Studies of the development of the Caenorhabditis elegans male have been carried out with the aim of understanding the basis of sexual dimorphism. Postembryonic development of the two C. elegans sexes differs extensively. Development along either the hermaphrodite or male pathway is specified initially by the X to autosome ratio. The regulatory events initiated by this ratio include a male-determining paracrine intercellular signal. Expression of this signal leads to different consequences in three regions of the body: the nongonadal soma, the somatic parts of the gonad, and the germ line. In the nongonadal soma, activity of the key Zn-finger transcription factor TRA-1 determines hermaphrodite development; in its absence, the male pathway is followed. Only a few genes directly regulated by TRA-1 are currently known, including members of the evolutionarily conserved, male-determining DM domain Zn-finger transcription factors. In the somatic parts of the gonad and germ line, absence of TRA-1 activity is not sufficient for full expression of the male pathway. Several additional transcription factors involved have been identified. In the germ line, regulatory genes for sperm development that act at the level of RNA in the cytoplasm play a prominent role.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)239-262
Number of pages24
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Developmental Biology
Volume3
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2014

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Caenorhabditis elegans
Sex Characteristics
Germ Cells
Transcription Factors
Gonads
Carisoprodol
Fingers
Body Regions
Regulator Genes
Spermatozoa
Cytoplasm
RNA
Genes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

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abstract = "Studies of the development of the Caenorhabditis elegans male have been carried out with the aim of understanding the basis of sexual dimorphism. Postembryonic development of the two C. elegans sexes differs extensively. Development along either the hermaphrodite or male pathway is specified initially by the X to autosome ratio. The regulatory events initiated by this ratio include a male-determining paracrine intercellular signal. Expression of this signal leads to different consequences in three regions of the body: the nongonadal soma, the somatic parts of the gonad, and the germ line. In the nongonadal soma, activity of the key Zn-finger transcription factor TRA-1 determines hermaphrodite development; in its absence, the male pathway is followed. Only a few genes directly regulated by TRA-1 are currently known, including members of the evolutionarily conserved, male-determining DM domain Zn-finger transcription factors. In the somatic parts of the gonad and germ line, absence of TRA-1 activity is not sufficient for full expression of the male pathway. Several additional transcription factors involved have been identified. In the germ line, regulatory genes for sperm development that act at the level of RNA in the cytoplasm play a prominent role.",
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