What's new in edition 69 |
Gene sites new with this edition
The Interactive Fly was first released July/August 1996, with updates provided at approximately one month intervals, through September 1997 (edition 13). Updating quarterly started with edition 14. With edition 40, the Interactive Fly began to schedule updates three times a year: fall, winter and spring.
- Gene sites new with this edition of the Interactive Fly:
- Accessory gland protein 26Aa/Ovulin
Across animal taxa, seminal proteins are important regulators of
female reproductive physiology and behavior. However, little is
understood about the physiological or molecular mechanisms by
which seminal proteins effect these changes. To investigate this
topic, the increase was studied in Drosophila melanogaster ovulation
behavior induced by mating. Ovulation requires octopamine
(OA) signaling from the central nervous system to coordinate an
egg's release from the ovary and its passage into the oviduct. The
seminal protein ovulin increases ovulation rates after mating. Tests were performed to see whether ovulin acts through OA to increase ovulation behavior.
Increasing OA neuronal excitability compensated for a lack
of ovulin received during mating. Moreover a mating-
dependent relaxation of oviduct musculature was identified, for which ovulin
is a necessary and sufficient male contribution. It is further reported
that oviduct muscle relaxation can be induced by activating OA
neurons, requires normal metabolic production of OA, and reflects
ovulin's increasing of OA neuronal signaling. Finally, it was shown that as a result of ovulin exposure, there is subsequent growth of OA synaptic sites at the oviduct, demonstrating that seminal proteins
can contribute to synaptic plasticity. Together, these results
demonstrate that ovulin increases ovulation through OA neuronal
signaling and, by extension, that seminal proteins can alter reproductive
physiology by modulating known female pathways
regulating reproduction (Rubinstein, 2013).
- Autophagy-specific gene 9
Autophagy is a highly conserved catabolic process that degrades and recycles intracellular components through the lysosomes. Atg9 is the only integral membrane protein among autophagy-related (Atg) proteins thought to carry the membrane source for forming autophagosomes. This study shows that Drosophila Atg9 interacts with Drosophila tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 2 (dTRAF2: TNF-receptor-associated factor 6) to regulate the c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) signaling pathway. Significantly, depletion of Atg9 and dTRAF2 compromised JNK-mediated intestinal stem cell proliferation and autophagy induction upon bacterial infection and oxidative stress stimulation. In mammalian cells, mAtg9 interacts with TRAF6, the homolog of dTRAF2, and plays an essential role in regulating oxidative stress-induced JNK activation. Moreover, it was found that ROS-induced autophagy acts as a negative feedback regulator of JNK activity by dissociating Atg9/mAtg9 from dTRAF2/TRAF6 in Drosophila and mammalian cells, respectively. These findings indicate a dual role for Atg9 in the regulation of JNK signaling and autophagy under oxidative stress conditions (Tang, 2013).
Establishment of synaptic connections in the neuropils of the developing nervous system requires the coordination of specific neurite-neurite interactions (i.e., axon-axon, dendrite-dendrite and axon-dendrite interactions). The molecular mechanisms underlying coordination of neurite-neurite interactions for circuit assembly are incompletely understood. This study identified a novel Ig superfamily transmembrane protein that was named Borderless (Bdl), as a novel regulator of neurite-neurite interactions in Drosophila. Bdl induces homotypic cell-cell adhesion in vitro and mediates neurite-neurite interactions in the developing visual system. Bdl interacts physically and genetically with the Ig transmembrane protein Turtle, a key regulator of axonal tiling. These results also show that the receptor tyrosine phosphatase leukocyte common antigen-related protein (LAR) negatively regulates Bdl to control synaptic-layer selection. It is proposed that precise regulation of Bdl action coordinates neurite-neurite interactions for circuit formation in Drosophila (Cameron, 2013).
The chromodomain protein, Chromator, can be divided into two main domains, a NH(2)-terminal domain (NTD) containing the chromodomain (ChD) and a COOH-terminal domain (CTD) containing a nuclear localization signal. During interphase Chromator is localized to chromosomes; however, during cell division Chromator redistributes to form a macromolecular spindle matrix complex together with other nuclear proteins that contribute to microtubule spindle dynamics and proper chromosome segregation during mitosis. It has previously been demonstrated that the CTD is sufficient for targeting Chromator to the spindle matrix. This study shows that the NTD domain of Chromator is required for proper localization to chromatin during interphase and that chromosome morphology defects observed in Chromator hypomorphic mutant backgrounds can be largely rescued by expression of this domain. Furthermore, this study shows that the ChD domain can interact with histone H1 and that this interaction is necessary for correct chromatin targeting. Nonetheless, that localization to chromatin still occurs in the absence of the ChD indicates that Chromator possesses a second mechanism for chromatin association and evidence is provided that this association is mediated by other sequences residing in the NTD. Taken together these findings suggest that Chromator's chromatin functions are largely governed by the NH(2)-terminal domain whereas functions related to mitosis are mediated mainly by COOH-terminal sequences (Yao, 2012).
- Dopamine/Ecdysteroid receptor
DopEcR, a G-protein coupled receptor for ecdysteroids, is involved in activity- and experience-dependent plasticity of the adult central nervous system. Remarkably, a courtship memory defect in rutabaga (Ca2+/calmodulin-responsive adenylate cyclase) mutants is rescued by DopEcR overexpression or acute 20E feeding, whereas a memory defect in dunce (cAMP-specific phosphodiestrase) mutants is counteracted when a loss-of-function DopEcR mutation is introduced. A memory defect caused by suppressing dopamine synthesis is also restored through enhanced DopEcR-mediated ecdysone signaling, and rescue and phenocopy experiments revealed that the mushroom body (MB) - a brain region central to learning and memory in Drosophila - is critical for the DopEcR-dependent processing of courtship memory. Consistent with this finding, acute 20E feeding induced a rapid, DopEcR-dependent increase in cAMP levels in the MB. The multidisciplinary approach demonstrates that DopEcR mediates the non-canonical actions of 20E and rapidly modulates adult conditioned behavior through cAMP signaling, which is universally important for neural plasticity. This study provides novel insights into non-genomic actions of steroids, and opens a new avenue for genetic investigation into an underappreciated mechanism critical to behavioral control by steroids (Ishimoto, 2013).
- Heat shock protein 83 (a.k.a. Hsp90)
The molecular chaperone Heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) promotes the maturation of several important proteins and plays a key role in development, cancer progression, and evolutionary diversification. By mapping chromatin-binding sites of Hsp90 at high resolution across the Drosophila genome, an unexpected mechanism was uncovered by which Hsp90 orchestrates cellular physiology. It localizes near promoters of many coding and noncoding genes including microRNAs. Using computational and biochemical analyses, it was found that Hsp90 maintains and optimizes RNA polymerase II pausing via stabilization of the negative elongation factor complex (NELF). Inhibition of Hsp90 leads to upregulation of target genes, and Hsp90 is required for maximal activation of paused genes in Drosophila and mammalian cells in response to environmental stimuli. These findings add a molecular dimension to the chaperone's functionality with wide ramifications into its roles in health, disease, and evolution (Sawarkar, 2012).
- Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor α5, Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor α6 and Nicotinic Acetylcholine Receptor α7
Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) play an important role as excitatory neurotransmitters in vertebrate and invertebrate species. In insects, nAChRs are the site of action of commercially important insecticides and, as a consequence, there is considerable interest in examining their functional properties. However, problems have been encountered in the successful functional expression of insect nAChRs, although a number of strategies have been developed in an attempt to overcome such difficulties. Ten nAChR subunits have been identified in the model insect Drosophila melanogaster (Dα1-Dα7 and Dβ1-Dβ3) and a similar number have been identified in other insect species. The focus of the present study is the Dα5, Dα6 and Dα7 subunits, which are distinguished by their sequence similarity to one another and also by their close similarity to the vertebrate α7 nAChR subunit. A full-length cDNA clone encoding the Drosophila nAChR Dα5 subunit has been isolated and the properties of Dα5-, Dα6- and Dα7-containing nAChRs examined in a variety of cell expression systems. This study demonstrated the functional expression, as homomeric nAChRs, of the Dα5 and Dα7 subunits in Xenopus oocytes by their co-expression with the molecular chaperone RIC-3. Also, using a similar approach, the functional expression of a heteromeric ‘triplet’ nAChR (Dα5 +, Dα6 + Dα7) was demonstrated to have substantially higher apparent affinity for acetylcholine than is seen with other subunit combinations. In addition, specific cell-surface binding of [125I]-α-bungarotoxin was detected in both Drosophila and mammalian cell lines when Dα5 was co-expressed with Dα6 and RIC-3. In contrast, co-expression of additional subunits (including Dα7) with Dα5 and Dα6 prevented specific binding of [125I]-α-bungarotoxin in cell lines, suggesting that co-assembly with other nAChR subunits can block maturation of correctly folded nAChRs in some cellular environments. These data demonstrate the ability of the Drosophila Dα5 and Dα7 subunits to generate functional homomeric and also heteromeric nAChRs (Lansdell, 2012).
- Odorant receptor 56a
Flies, like all animals, need to find suitable and safe food. Because the principal food source for Drosophila melanogaster is yeast growing on fermenting fruit, flies need to distinguish fruit with safe yeast from yeast covered with toxic microbes. This study identified a functionally segregated olfactory circuit in flies that is activated exclusively by geosmin. This microbial odorant constitutes an ecologically relevant stimulus that alerts flies to the presence of harmful microbes. Geosmin activates only a single class of sensory neurons expressing the olfactory receptor Or56a. These neurons target the DA2 glomerulus and connect to projection neurons that respond exclusively to geosmin. Activation of DA2 is sufficient and necessary for aversion, overrides input from other olfactory pathways, and inhibits positive chemotaxis, oviposition, and feeding. The geosmin detection system is a conserved feature in the genus Drosophila that provides flies with a sensitive, specific means of identifying unsuitable feeding and breeding sites (Stensmyr, 2012).
- Pickpocket 11 and Pickpocket 16
An electrophysiology-based forward genetic screen has identified two genes, pickpocket11 (ppk11) and pickpocket16 (ppk16), as being necessary for the homeostatic modulation of presynaptic neurotransmitter release at the Drosophila neuromuscular junction (NMJ). Pickpocket genes encode Degenerin/Epithelial Sodium channel subunits (DEG/ENaC). This study demonstrates that ppk11 and ppk16 are necessary in presynaptic motoneurons for both the acute induction and long-term maintenance of synaptic homeostasis. ppk11 and ppk16 are cotranscribed as a single mRNA that is upregulated during homeostatic plasticity. Acute pharmacological inhibition of a PPK11- and PPK16-containing channel abolishes the expression of short- and long-term homeostatic plasticity without altering baseline presynaptic neurotransmitter release, indicating remarkable specificity for homeostatic plasticity rather than NMJ development. Finally, presynaptic calcium imaging experiments support a model in which a PPK11- and PPK16-containing DEG/ENaC channel modulates presynaptic membrane voltage and, thereby, controls calcium channel activity to homeostatically regulate neurotransmitter release (Younger, 2013).
The essential and highly conserved role of Myc in organismal growth and development is dependent on the control of Myc protein abundance. It is now well established that Myc levels are in part regulated by ubiquitin-dependent proteasomal degradation. Using a genetic screen for modifiers of Drosophila Myc (dMyc)-induced growth, this study identified and characterized a ubiquitin-specific protease (USP), Puffyeye (Puf), as a novel regulator of dMyc levels and function in vivo. puf genetically and physically interacts with dMyc and the ubiquitin ligase archipelago (ago) to modulate a dMyc-dependent cell growth phenotype, and varying Puf levels in both the eye and wing phenocopies the effects of altered dMyc abundance. Puf containing point mutations within its USP enzymatic domain failed to alter dMyc levels and displayed no detectable phenotype, indicating the importance of deubiquitylating activity for Puf function. dMyc induces Ago, indicating that dMyc triggers a negative-feedback pathway that is modulated by Puf. In addition to its effects on dMyc, Puf regulates both Ago and its cell cycle substrate Cyclin E. Therefore, Puf influences cell growth by controlling the stability of key regulatory proteins (Li, 2013).
- Secreted decoy of InR
embers of the insulin peptide family have conserved roles in the regulation of growth and metabolism in a wide variety of metazoans. Drosophila insulin-like peptides (Dilps) promote tissue growth through the single insulin-like receptor (InR). Despite the important role of Dilps in nutrient-dependent growth control, the molecular mechanism that regulates the activity of circulating Dilps is not well understood. This study reports the function of a novel secreted decoy of InR (SDR) as a negative regulator of insulin signaling. SDR is predominantly expressed in surface glia of the larval CNS and is secreted into the hemolymph. Larvae lacking SDR grow at a faster rate, thereby increasing adult body size. Conversely, overexpression of SDR reduces body growth non-cell-autonomously. SDR is structurally similar to the extracellular domain of InR and interacts with several Dilps in vitro independent of Imp-L2, the ortholog of the mammalian insulin-like growth factor-binding protein 7 (IGFBP7). It was further demonstrated that SDR is constantly secreted into the hemolymph independent of nutritional status and is essential for adjusting insulin signaling under adverse food conditions. It is proposed that Drosophila uses a secreted decoy to fine-tune systemic growth against fluctuations of circulating insulin levels (Okamoto, 2013).
Actin cytoskeletal networks push and pull the plasma membrane (PM) to control cell structure and behavior. Endocytosis also regulates the PM and can be promoted or inhibited by cytoskeletal networks. However, endocytic regulation of the general membrane cytoskeleton is undocumented. This study provides evidence for endocytic inhibition of actomyosin networks. Specifically, it was found that Steppke, a cytohesin Arf-guanine nucleotide exchange factor (GEF), controls initial PM furrow ingression during the syncytial nuclear divisions and cellularization of the Drosophila embryo. Acting at the tips of ingressing furrows, Steppke promotes local endocytic events through its Arf-GEF activity and in cooperation with the AP-2 clathrin adaptor complex. These Steppke activities appear to reduce local Rho1 protein levels and ultimately restrain actomyosin networks. Without Steppke, Rho1 pathways linked to actin polymerization and myosin activation abnormally expand the membrane cytoskeleton into taut sheets emanating perpendicularly from the furrow tips. These expansions lead to premature cellularization and abnormal expulsions of nuclei from the forming blastoderm. Finally, consistent with earlier reports, it was also found that actomyosin activity can act reciprocally to inhibit the endocytosis at furrow tips. It is proposed that Steppke-dependent endocytosis keeps the cytoskeleton in check as early PM furrows form. Specifically, a cytohesin Arf-GEF-Arf G protein-AP-2 endocytic axis appears to antagonize Rho1 cytoskeletal pathways to restrain the membrane cytoskeleton. However, as furrows lengthen during cellularization, the cytoskeleton gains strength, blocks the endocytic inhibition, and finally closes off the base of each cell to form the blastoderm (Lee, 2013).
- Toll-6 & Toll-7
Neurotrophin receptors corresponding to vertebrate Trk, p75NTR or Sortilin have not been identified in Drosophila, thus it is unknown how neurotrophism may be implemented in insects. Two Drosophila neurotrophins, DNT1 and DNT2, have nervous system functions, but their receptors are unknown. The Toll receptor superfamily has ancient evolutionary origins and a universal function in innate immunity. This study shows that Toll paralogs unrelated to the mammalian neurotrophin receptors function as neurotrophin receptors in fruit flies. Toll-6 and Toll-7 are expressed in the CNS throughout development and regulate locomotion, motor axon targeting and neuronal survival. DNT1 (also known as NT1 and spz2) and DNT2 (also known as NT2 and spz5) interact genetically with Toll-6 and Toll-7, and DNT1 and DNT2 bind to Toll-6 and Toll-7 promiscuously and are distributed in vivo in domains complementary to or overlapping with those of Toll-6 and Toll-7. It is concluded that in fruit flies, Tolls are not only involved in development and immunity but also in neurotrophism, revealing an unforeseen relationship between the neurotrophin and Toll protein families (McIlroy, 2013).
Most nucleosomes that package eukaryotic DNA are assembled during DNA replication, but chromatin structure is routinely disrupted in active regions of the genome. Replication-independent nucleosome replacement using the H3.3 histone variant efficiently repackages these regions, but how histones are recruited to these sites is unknown. This study used an inducible system that produces nucleosome-depleted chromatin at the Hsp70 genes in Drosophila to define steps in the mechanism of nucleosome replacement. Xnp chromatin remodeler and the Hira histone chaperone were found to independently bind nucleosome-depleted chromatin. Surprisingly, these two factors are only displaced when new nucleosomes are assembled. H3.3 deposition assays reveal that Xnp and Hira are required for efficient nucleosome replacement, and double-mutants are lethal. It is proposed that Xnp and Hira recognize exposed DNA and serve as a binding platform for the efficient recruitment of H3.3 predeposition complexes to chromatin gaps. These results uncover the mechanisms by which eukaryotic cells actively prevent the exposure of DNA in the nucleus (Schneiderman, 2012).
date revised: 23 December 2013
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