Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Lightweight males

Males leave more than sperm when they copulate with a female, they also leave a bunch of seminal proteins that are involved in sperm competition and sexual conflict. The problem in studying this system is that it is hard to distinguish between those proteins already present in the female and those deposited by the male during copulation. An new paper (Findlay et al.) uses a clever technique to get around this, they raise the Drosophila females on a heavy nitrogen food which means that they can distinguish the male and female proteins using mass spec. It seems like a great technique and will be applicable to many situations where people need to work out which individual produced which protein. There is also a news piece on the article here

Proteomics Reveals Novel Drosophila Seminal Fluid Proteins Transferred at Mating.
Geoffrey D. Findlay, Xianhua Yi, Michael J. MacCoss, Willie J. Swanson. 2008. PLoS Biology

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