• male-specific mRNA;
  • odourant-binding protein;
  • translational control;
  • Ceratitis capitata


Male-specific serum proteins (MSSPs) are low molecular weight proteins which accumulate in high amounts in the haemolymph of adult males of the medfly Ceratitis capitata. By screening an expression library with anti-MSSP antibodies, we have isolated and determined the nucleotide sequence of a cDNA clone coding for one of the male-specific polypeptides (MSSP-α). The MSSP-α mRNA encodes a polypeptide of 144 amino acids with a secretory signal sequence of sixteen amino acids. Southern analysis indicated that there are multiple copies of MSSP genes in the medfly genome. Northern analysis showed that the MSSP mRNAs are synthesized only in adult males. The accumulation pattern of these mRNAs during development suggests that the expression of the MSSP genes is developmentally regulated at both transcriptional and translational levels. The predicted peptide sequence of MSSP-α shows significant similarity to a group of pheromone- and general odourant-binding proteins of insects.