Female-specific gene expression in Schistosoma mansoni is regulated by pairing

C. G. GREVELDING a1, G. SOMMER a1 and W. KUNZ a1c1
a1 Institute of Genetics, Genetic Parasitology and Center for Biological and Medical Research, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany


Gene expression studies in adult females of Schistosoma mansoni cultured in vitro revealed that the transcription of female-specifically expressed genes is influenced by pairing. In contrast, the activity of genes that are expressed in both genders was not affected by contact with the male. The transcription of genes was monitored in paired, separated and remated females. The transcript level of female-specifically expressed genes decreases within a few days following separation from males. Remating of uncoupled females with males leads to the reinitiation of transcription. These results provide strong evidence for the influence of the male on gene transcription in the female and contribute a molecular basis for the classical histological observation that the maturation of females is male dependent. The data also show that the culture system is suitable to monitor gene expression and, furthermore, they indicate de novo RNA synthesis in vitro.

(Received February 13 1997)
(Revised April 11 1997)
(Revised June 14 1997)
(Accepted June 14 1997)

Key Words: Schistosoma mansoni; in vitro culture; female-specific gene expression; female maturation; de novo RNA synthesis.

c1 Corresponding author: Institut für GenetikUniversitätsstraße 1, 40225 Düsseldorf, Germany. Tel: and Fax: +49 211 81 12333. E-mail: