Successful reproduction is dependent on the transfer of male seminal proteins to females upon mating. These proteins arise from secretory tissues in the male reproductive tract, including the prostate and seminal vesicles in mammals and the accessory gland in insects. Although detailed functional studies have provided important insights into the mechanisms by which accessory gland proteins support reproduction, much less is known about the molecular mechanisms that regulate their expression within this tissue. Here we show that the Drosophila HR39 nuclear receptor is required for the proper expression of most genes that encode male accessory gland proteins. Consistent with this role, HR39 mutant males are infertile. In addition, tissue-specific RNAi and genetic rescue experiments indicate that HR39 acts within the accessory glands to regulate gene expression and male fertility. These results provide new directions for characterizing the mammalian orthologs of HR39, the SF-1 and LRH-1 nuclear receptors, both of which are required for glandular secretions and reproduction. In addition, our studies provide a molecular mechanism to explain how the accessory glands can maintain the abundant levels of seminal fluid production required to support fertility.
Copyright © 2021. Published by Elsevier Inc.