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.
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