High functional conservation of takeout family members in a courtship model system

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takeout (to) is one of the male-specific genes expressed in the fat body that regulate male courtship behavior, and has been shown to act as a secreted protein in conjunction with courtship circuits. There are 23 takeout family members in Drosophila melanogaster, and homologues of this family are distributed across insect species. Sequence conservation among family members is low. Here we test the functional conservation of takeout family members by examining whether they can rescue the takeout courtship defect. We find that despite their sequence divergence takeout members from Aedes aegypti and Epiphas postvittana, as well as family members from D. melanogaster can substitute for takeout in courtship, demonstrating their functional conservation. Making use of the known E. postvittana Takeout structure, we used homology modeling and amphipathic helix analysis and found high overall structural conservation, including high conservation of the structure and amphipathic lining of an internal cavity that has been shown to accommodate hydrophobic ligands. Together these data suggest a high degree of structural conservation that likely underlies functional conservation in courtship. In addition, we have identified a role for a conserved exposed protein motif important for the protein's role in courtship.




Saurabh, S., Vanaphan, N., Wen, W., & Dauwalder, B. (2018). High functional conservation of takeout family members in a courtship model system. PLoS ONE, 13(9). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0204615

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