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Identification and comparative analysis of accessory gland proteins in Orthoptera

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Accessory reproductive gland proteins (Acps) in Drosophila evolve quickly and appear to play an important role in ensuring the fertilization success of males. Moreover, Acps are thought to be involved in establishing barriers to fertilization between closely related species. While accessory glands are known to occur in the males of many insect groups, the proteins that are passed on to females by males during mating have not been well characterized outside of Drosophila. To gain a better understanding of these proteins, we characterized ESTs from the accessory glands of two cricket species, Allonemobius fasciatus and Gryllus firmus. Using an expressed sequence tag (EST) approach, followed by bioinformatic and evolutionary analyses, we found that many proteins are secreted and, therefore, available for transfer to the female during mating. Further, we found that most ESTs are novel, showing little sequence similarity between taxa. Evolutionary analyses suggest that cricket proteins are subject to diversifying selection and indicate that Allonemobius is much less polymorphic than Gryllus. Despite rapid nucleotide sequence divergence, there appears to be functional conservation of protein classes among Drosophila and cricket taxa.

Les protéines des glandes reproductives accessoires chez le genre Drosophila évoluent rapidement et semblent jouer un rôle important dans le succès des mâles en matière de fécondation. De plus, ces protéines sont soupçonnées d’une implication dans l’établissement de barrières à la fécondation entre espèces proches. Tandis que des glandes accessoires sont présentes chez les mâles de nombreux groupes d’insectes, les protéines transmises des mâles aux femelles lors de l’accouplement n’ont pas été bien caractérisées à l’extérieur du genre Drosophila. Afin de mieux connaître ces protéines, les auteurs ont caractérisé des EST des glandes accessoires chez deux espèces de grillons, Allonemobius fasciatus et Gryllus firmus. À l’aide d’une approche EST, suivie d’analyses bioinformatiques et évolutives, les auteurs ont trouvé que plusieurs protéines étaient sécrétées et ainsi disponibles pour transfert à la femelle lors de l’accouplement. De plus, la plupart des EST étaient inédits puisqu’ils montraient peu de similarité entre taxons. Des analyses évolutives suggèrent que les protéines de grillons sont sujettes à une sélection divergente et indiquent que l’Allonemobius est beaucoup moins polymorphe que le Gryllus. En dépit d’une rapide divergence de la séquence nucléotidique, il semble y avoir une conservation fonctionnelle des classes de protéines chez le genre Drosophila et les grillons.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2006

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  • From its inception in 1957, this international cytogenetics journal has catered to the research areas of the members of the Genetics Society of Canada; traditionally, these have included agriculture, entomology, genetics/cytogenetics, and evolutionary mechanisms. The contents of the journal have evolved as contributors developed new technologies and interests. A 20-member Editorial Board is composed of scientists from around the world. Reviews and commentary from respected experts are often featured.
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