UCR

Institute for Integrative Genome Biology



Studying Insect Male-killing Bacteria


A team of scientists, including IIGB assistant professor of entomology Omar Akbari, has discovered a key mechanism that drives a bacteria that kills male insects, a development that could potentially be exploited to control insect pest species in the future.

In a paper published online today (May 5) in the journal Current Biology, the researchers conducted experiments using fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) that strongly suggest that the bacterium (Spiroplasma) initiates male killing by directly targeting the dosage compensation complex of an organism, which equalizes gene expression between the males and females.

They found that the dosage compensation complex becomes displaced prior to the killing phase. This effect was accompanied by genome-wide misregulation of gene expression. Further, they artificially induced formation of the dosage compensation complex in infected females, which resulted in the complex being displaced and early death caused by the bacteria. This mirrors the killing effects in males.

The paper is called “Male-killing Spiroplasma Alters Behavior of the Dosage Compensation Complex during Drosophila melanogaster embryogenesis.” In addition to Akbari and colleague Patrick Ferree, an assistant professor of biology at the W.M. Keck Science Department at Claremont McKenna, Pitzer and Scripps Colleges, additional authors from this institution include Becky Cheng, Nitin Kuppanda and John C. Aldrich.

For additional information, please visit:


More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Career OpportunitiesUCR Libraries
Campus StatusDirections to UCR

Genomics Information

Institute of Integrative Genome Biology
2150 Batchelor Hall

Tel: (951) 827-7177
E-mail: Aurelia Espinoza, Managing Director

Footer