Departamento de Genética e Biologia Evolutiva, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil 05508.
In several different taxa, there is indubitable evidence of transcriptional silencing of the X and Y chromosomes in male meiotic cells of spermatogenesis. However, the so called meiotic sex chromosome inactivation (MSCI) has been recently a hot bed for debate in Drosophila melanogaster. This review covers cytological and genetic observations, data from transgenic constructs with testis-specific promoters, global expression profiles obtained from mutant, wild-type, larvae and adult testes as well as from cells of different stages of spermatogenesis. There is no dispute on that D. melanogaster spermatogenesis presents a down-regulation of X chromosome that does not result from the lack of dosage compensation. However, the issue is currently focused on the level of reduction of X-linked expression, the precise time it occurs and how many genes are affected. The deep examination of data and experiments in this review exposes the limitations intrinsic to the methods of studying MSCI in D. melanogaster. The current methods do not allow us to affirm anything else than the X chromosome down-regulation in meiosis (MSCI). Therefore, conclusion about level, degree or precise timing is inadequate until new approaches are implemented to know the details of MSCI or other processes involved for D. melanogaster model.
Keywords: down-regulation, X chromosome, spermatogenesis, testis, male germline.