A selfish gene chastened: Tribolium castaneum Medea M (4) is silenced by a complementary gene

Thomson, MS,  Genetica,  142:161-167. 2014.

Maternal-effect dominant embryonic arrest (Medea) of Tribolium castaneum are autosomal factors that act maternally to cause the death of any progeny that do not inherit them. This selfish behavior is thought to result from a maternally expressed poison and zygotically expressed antidote. Medea factors and the hybrid incompatibility factor, H, have a negative interaction consistent with complementary genes of the Dobzhansky-Muller model for post-zygotic isolation. This negative interaction may result from H suppression of Medea zygotic antidote, leaving zygotes incompletely protected from maternal poison. I report here a test of the hypothesis that H also suppresses the Medea maternal poison. Viable F-1 females were generated from a cross of Medea M (4) strain males to H strain females. These females, heterozygous for both M (4) and H, failed to express M (4) maternal lethal activity when crossed to their male sibs. Transmission of non-M (4) homologues from these females was confirmed using a dominant transgenic enhanced green fluorescent protein eye color marker, tightly linked in cis to M (4) . M (4) beetles, lacking H, were selected from the F-2 population. Female descendants of these clearly expressed M (4) maternal lethal activity, indicating restoration of this activity after H was segregated away. I conclude that H, or a factor tightly linked to H, suppresses Medea M (4) maternal poison.