Apr 25, 2020

Drosophila Sex Peptide Controls the Assembly of Lipid Microcarriers in Seminal Fluid

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
M. WainwrightClive Wilson

Abstract

Seminal fluid plays an essential role in promoting male reproductive success and modulating female physiology and behaviour. In the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, Sex Peptide (SP) is the best-characterised protein mediator of these effects. It is secreted from the paired male accessory glands (AGs), which, like the mammalian prostate and seminal vesicles, generate most of the seminal fluid contents. After mating, SP binds to spermatozoa and is retained in the female sperm storage organs. It is gradually released by proteolytic cleavage and induces several long-term post-mating responses including ovulation, elevated feeding and reduced receptivity to remating, primarily signalling through the SP receptor (SPR). Here, we demonstrate a previously unsuspected SPR-independent function for SP. We show that, in the AG lumen, SP and secreted proteins with membrane-binding anchors are carried on abundant, large neutral lipid-containing microcarriers, also found in other SP-expressing Drosophila species. These microcarriers are transferred to females during mating, where they rapidly disassemble. Remarkably, SP is a key assembly factor for microcarriers and is also required for the female disassembly process to occur normally. Male...Continue Reading

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