What's new in edition 72 |
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:
- Ankyrin 2
Drosophila neuromuscular junctions (NMJs) represent a powerful model system with which to study glutamatergic synapse formation and remodeling. Several proteins have been implicated in these processes, including components of canonical Wingless (Drosophila Wnt1) signaling and the giant isoforms of the membrane-cytoskeleton linker Ankyrin 2, but possible interconnections and cooperation between these proteins were unknown. This study demonstrates that the heterotrimeric G protein Go functions as a transducer of Wingless-Frizzled 2 signaling in the synapse. Ankyrin 2 was identified as a target of Go signaling required for NMJ formation. Moreover, the Go-ankyrin interaction is conserved in the mammalian neurite outgrowth pathway. Without ankyrins, a major switch in the Go-induced neuronal cytoskeleton program is observed, from microtubule-dependent neurite outgrowth to actin-dependent lamellopodial induction. These findings describe a novel mechanism regulating the microtubule cytoskeleton in the nervous system. This work in Drosophila and mammalian cells suggests that this mechanism might be generally applicable in nervous system development and function (Luchtenborg, 2014).
- Atp synthetase, subunit b
Diet composition is a critical determinant of lifespan, and nutrient imbalance is detrimental to health. However, how nutrients interact with genetic factors to modulate lifespan remains elusive. This study investigated how diet composition influences mitochondrial ATP synthase subunit d (ATPsyn-d) in modulating lifespan in Drosophila. ATPsyn-d knockdown extends lifespan in females fed low carbohydrate-to-protein (C:P) diets but not the high C:P ratio diet. This extension is associated with increased resistance to oxidative stress; transcriptional changes in metabolism, proteostasis, and immune genes; reduced protein damage and aggregation, and reduced phosphorylation of S6K and ERK in TOR and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling, respectively. ATPsyn-d knockdown did not extend lifespan in females with reduced TOR signaling induced genetically by Tsc2 overexpression or pharmacologically by rapamycin. These data reveal a link among diet, mitochondria, and MAPK and TOR signaling in aging and stresses the importance of considering genetic background and diet composition in implementing interventions for promoting healthy aging (Sun, 2014).
- GDI interacting protein 3
The Wingless (Wg/Wnt) signaling pathway is essential for metazoan development, where it is central to tissue growth and cellular differentiation. Deregulated Wg pathway activation underlies severe developmental abnormalities, as well as carcinogenesis. Armadillo/β-Catenin plays a key role in the Wg transduction cascade; its cytoplasmic and nuclear levels directly determine the output activity of Wg signaling and are thus tightly controlled. In all current models, once Arm is targeted for degradation by the Arm/β-Catenin destruction complex, its fate is viewed as set. This study identified a novel Wg/Wnt pathway component, Armless (Als; CG5469) that is required for Wg target gene expression in a cell-autonomous manner. Genetic and biochemical analyses showed that Als functions downstream of the destruction complex, at the level of the SCF/Slimb/βTRCP E3 Ub ligase. In the absence of Als, Arm levels are severely reduced. Biochemical and in vivo studies showed that Als interacts directly with Ter94, an AAA ATPase known to associate with E3 ligases and to drive protein turnover. It is suggested that Als antagonizes Ter94's positive effect on E3 ligase function, and it is proposed that Als promotes Wg signaling by rescuing Arm from proteolytic degradation, spotlighting an unexpected step where the Wg pathway signal is modulated (Reim, 2014).
- Lipoprotein receptor 1 and Lipoprotein receptor 2
Lipids are constantly shuttled through the body to redistribute energy and metabolites between sites of absorption, storage, and catabolism in a complex homeostatic equilibrium. In Drosophila, lipids are transported through the hemolymph in the form of lipoprotein particles, known as lipophorins. The mechanisms by which cells interact with circulating lipophorins and acquire their lipidic cargo are poorly understood. This study found that lipophorin receptor 1 and 2 (lpr1 and lpr2), two partially redundant genes belonging to the Low Density Lipoprotein Receptor (LDLR) family, are essential for the efficient uptake and accumulation of neutral lipids by oocytes and cells of the imaginal discs. Females lacking the lpr2 gene lay eggs with low lipid content and have reduced fertility, revealing a central role for lpr2 in mediating Drosophila vitellogenesis. lpr1 and lpr2 are transcribed into multiple isoforms. Interestingly, only a subset of these isoforms containing a particular LDLR type A module mediate neutral lipid uptake. Expression of these isoforms induces the extracellular stabilization of lipophorins. Furthermore, the data indicate that endocytosis of the lipophorin receptors is not required to mediate the uptake of neutral lipids. These findings suggest a model where lipophorin receptors promote the extracellular lipolysis of lipophorins. This model is reminiscent of the lipolytic processing of triglyceride-rich lipoproteins that occurs at the mammalian capillary endothelium, suggesting an ancient role for LDLR-like proteins in this process (Parra-Peralbo, 2014).
- Na pump α subunit
The activity of Na+/K+-ATPase establishes transmembrane ion gradients and is essential to cell function and survival. Either dysregulation or deficiency of neuronal Na+/K+-ATPase has been implicated in the pathogenesis of many neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and rapid-onset dystonia Parkinsonism. However, genetic evidence that directly links neuronal Na+/K+-ATPase deficiency to in vivo neurodegeneration has been lacking. This study used Drosophila photoreceptors to investigate the cell-autonomous effects of neuronal Na+/K+ ATPase. Loss of ATPα, an α subunit of Na+/K+-ATPase, in photoreceptors through UAS/Gal4-mediated RNAi eliminated the light-triggered depolarization of the photoreceptors, rendering the fly virtually blind in behavioral assays. Intracellular recordings indicated that ATPα knockdown photoreceptors were already depolarized in the dark, which was due to a loss of intracellular K+. Importantly, ATPα knockdown resulted in the degeneration of photoreceptors in older flies. This degeneration was independent of light and showed characteristics of apoptotic/hybrid cell death as observed via electron microscopy analysis. Loss of Nrv3, a Na+/K+-ATPase β subunit (see Nervana 1 and Nervana 2), partially reproduced the signaling and degenerative defects observed in ATPα knockdown flies. Thus, the loss of Na+/K+-ATPase not only eradicates visual function but also causes age-dependent degeneration in photoreceptors, confirming the link between neuronal Na+/K+ ATPase deficiency and in vivo neurodegeneration. This work also establishes Drosophila photoreceptors as a genetic model for studying the cell-autonomous mechanisms underlying neuronal Na+/K+ ATPase deficiency-mediated neurodegeneration (Luan, 2014).
- Nucleoporin 98-96kD
In response to infection, the innate immune system rapidly activates an elaborate and tightly orchestrated gene expression program to induce critical antimicrobial genes. While many key players in this program have been identified in disparate biological systems, it is clear that there are additional uncharacterized mechanisms at play. Previous studies revealed that a rapidly-induced antiviral gene expression program is active against disparate human arthropod-borne viruses in Drosophila. Moreover, one-half of this program is regulated at the level of transcriptional pausing. This study found that Nup98, a virus-induced gene, was antiviral against a panel of viruses both in cells and adult flies since its depletion significantly enhanced viral infection. Mechanistically, it was found that Nup98 promotes antiviral gene expression in Drosophila at the level of transcription. Expression profiling revealed that the virus-induced activation of 36 genes was abrogated upon loss of Nup98; and this study found that a subset of these Nup98-dependent genes were antiviral. These Nup98-dependent virus-induced genes are Cdk9-dependent and translation-independent suggesting that these are rapidly induced primary response genes. Biochemically, it was demonstrated that Nup98 is directly bound to the promoters of virus-induced genes, and that it promotes occupancy of the initiating form of RNA polymerase II at these promoters, which are rapidly induced on viral infection to restrict human arboviruses in insects (Panda, 2014).
- Retinoid- and fatty
Wnt and Hedgehog family proteins are secreted signalling molecules (morphogens) that act at both long and short range to control growth and patterning during development. Both proteins are covalently modified by lipid, and the mechanism by which such hydrophobic molecules might spread over long distances is unknown. The Drosophila lipoprotein particle, Lipophorin, bears lipid-linked morphogens on its surface and is required for long-range signaling activity of Wingless and Hedgehog. Wingless, Hedgehog and glycophosphatidylinositol-linked proteins copurify with lipoprotein particles marked by lipophorin, and co-localize with these particles in the developing wing epithelium of Drosophila. In larvae with reduced lipoprotein levels, Hedgehog accumulates near its site of production, and fails to signal over its normal range. Similarly, the range of Wingless signalling is narrowed. A novel function is proposed for lipoprotein particles, in which they act as vehicles for the movement of lipid-linked morphogens and glycophosphatidylinositol-linked proteins (Panakova, 2005).
Nuclear DNA in the male gamete of sexually reproducing animals is organized as sperm chromatin compacted primarily by sperm-specific protamines. Fertilization leads to sperm chromatin remodeling, during which protamines are expelled and replaced by histones. Despite increased understanding of the factors that mediate nucleosome assembly in the nascent male pronucleus, the machinery for protamine removal remains largely unknown. This study identified four Drosophila protamine chaperones that mediate the dissociation of protamine-DNA complexes: NAP-1, NLP, and nucleophosmin are previously characterized histone chaperones, and TAP/p32 has no known function in chromatin metabolism. This study showed TAP/p32 to be required for the removal of Drosophila protamine B in vitro, whereas NAP-1, NLP, and Nph share roles in the removal of protamine A. Embryos from P32-null females show defective formation of the male pronucleus in vivo. TAP/p32, similar to NAP-1, NLP, and Nph, facilitates nucleosome assembly in vitro and is therefore a histone chaperone. Furthermore, mutants of P32, Nlp, and Nph exhibit synthetic-lethal genetic interactions. In summary, this study identified factors mediating protamine removal from DNA and reconstituted in a defined system the process of sperm chromatin remodeling that exchanges protamines for histones to form the nucleosome-based chromatin characteristic of somatic cells (Emelyanov, 2014).
Bursicon is a hormone that modulates wing expansion, cuticle hardening, and melanization in Drosophila melanogaster. Bursicon activity is mediated through its cognate G protein-coupled receptor, Rickets. This study developed a membrane tethered Bursicon construct that enables spatial modulation of Rickets mediated physiology in transgenic flies. Ubiquitous expression of tethered Bursicon throughout development results in arrest at the pupal stage. The few organisms that eclose fail to undergo wing expansion. These phenotypes suggest that expression of tethered Bursicon inhibits Rickets mediated function. Consistent with this hypothesis, this study showed in vitro that sustained stimulation of Rickets by tethered Bursicon leads to receptor desensitization. Furthermore, tissue specific expression of the tethered Bursicon inhibitor unraveled a critical role for Rickets in a subset of adult muscles. Taken together, these finds highlight the utility of membrane tethered inhibitors as important genetic/pharmacological tools to dissect the tissue specific roles of GPCRs in vivo (Harwood, 2014).
DEAD-box helicases play essential roles in RNA metabolism across species, but emerging data suggest that they have additional functions in immunity. Through RNAi screening, an evolutionarily conserved and interferon-independent role was identified for the DEAD-box helicase DDX17 in restricting Rift Valley fever virus (RVFV), a mosquito-transmitted virus in the bunyavirus family that causes severe morbidity and mortality in humans and livestock. Loss of Drosophila DDX17 (Rm62) in cells and flies enhances RVFV infection. Similarly, depletion of DDX17 but not the related helicase DDX5 increased RVFV replication in human cells. Using crosslinking immunoprecipitation high-throughput sequencing (CLIP-seq), this study shows that DDX17 binds the stem loops of host precursor-miRNA (pri-miRNA) to facilitate their processing and also an essential stem loop in bunyaviral RNA to restrict infection. Thus, DDX17 has dual roles in the recognition of stem loops: in the nucleus for endogenous microRNA (miRNA) biogenesis and in the cytoplasm for surveillance against structured non-self-elements (Moy, 2014).
- RNA on the X 2
Dosage compensation in Drosophila involves a global activation of genes on the male X chromosome. The activating complex (MSL-DCC) consists of male-specific-lethal (MSL) proteins and two long, noncoding roX RNAs. The roX RNAs are essential for X-chromosomal targeting, but their contributions to MSL-DCC structure and function are enigmatic. Conceivably, the RNA helicase MLE, itself an MSL subunit, is actively involved in incorporating roX into functional DCC. This study determined the secondary structure of roX2 and mapped specific interaction sites for MLE in vitro. Upon addition of ATP, MLE disrupted a functionally important stem loop in roX2. This RNA remodeling enhanced specific ATP-dependent association of MSL2, the core subunit of the MSL-DCC, providing a link between roX and MSL subunits. Probing the conformation of roX in vivo revealed a remodeled stem loop in chromatin-bound roX2. The active remodeling of a stable secondary structure by MLE may constitute a rate-limiting step for MSL-DCC assembly (Maenner, 2013).
Localized mRNA translation is thought to play a key role in synaptic plasticity, but the identity of the transcripts and the molecular mechanism underlying their function are still poorly understood. This study shows that Syncrip, a regulator of localized translation in the Drosophila oocyte and a component of mammalian neuronal mRNA granules, is also expressed in the Drosophila larval neuromuscular junction, where it regulates synaptic growth. RNA-immunoprecipitation followed by high-throughput sequencing and qRT-PCR were used to show that Syncrip associates with a number of mRNAs encoding proteins with key synaptic functions, including msp-300, syd-1, neurexin-1, futsch, highwire, discs large, and alpha-spectrin. The protein levels of MSP-300, Discs large, and a number of others are significantly affected in syncrip null mutants. Furthermore, syncrip mutants show a reduction in MSP-300 protein levels and defects in muscle nuclear distribution characteristic of msp-300 mutants. These results highlight a number of potential new players in localized translation during synaptic plasticity in the neuromuscular junction. It is proposed that Syncrip acts as a modulator of synaptic plasticity by regulating the translation of these key mRNAs encoding synaptic scaffolding proteins and other important components involved in synaptic growth and function (McDermott, 20
Males of most species are more aggressive than females, but the neural mechanisms underlying this dimorphism are not clear. This study identified a neuron and a gene that control the higher level of aggression characteristic of Drosophila melanogaster males. Males, but not females, contain a small cluster of FruM+ neurons that express the neuropeptide tachykinin (Tk). Activation and silencing of these neurons increased and decreased, respectively, intermale aggression without affecting male-female courtship behavior. Mutations in both Tk and a candidate receptor, Takr86C, suppressed the effect of neuronal activation, whereas overexpression of Tk potentiated it. Tk neuron activation overcame reduced aggressiveness caused by eliminating a variety of sensory or contextual cues, suggesting that it promotes aggressive arousal or motivation. Tachykinin/Substance P has been implicated in aggression in mammals, including humans. Thus, the higher aggressiveness of Drosophila males reflects the sexually dimorphic expression of a neuropeptide that controls agonistic behaviors across phylogeny (Asahina, 2014).
The dendritic arbors of the larval Drosophila peripheral class IV dendritic arborization neurons degenerate during metamorphosis in an ecdysone-dependent manner. This process-also known as dendrite pruning-depends on the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS), but the specific processes regulated by the UPS during pruning have been largely elusive. This study shows that mutation or inhibition of Valosin-Containing Protein (VCP; termed TER94 by FlyBase), a ubiquitin-dependent ATPase whose human homolog is linked to neurodegenerative disease, leads to specific defects in mRNA metabolism and that this role of VCP is linked to dendrite pruning. Specifically, it was found that VCP inhibition causes an altered splicing pattern of the large pruning gene Molecule interacting with CasL and mislocalization of the Drosophila homolog of the human RNA-binding protein TAR-DNA-binding protein of 43 kilo-Dalton (TDP-43). These data suggest that VCP inactivation might lead to specific gain-of-function of TDP-43 and other RNA-binding proteins. A similar combination of defects is also seen in a mutant in the ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme ubcD1 (Effete) and a mutant in the 19S regulatory particle of the proteasome, but not in a 20S proteasome mutant. Thus, these results highlight a proteolysis-independent function of the UPS during class IV dendritic arborization neuron dendrite pruning and link the UPS to the control of mRNA metabolism (Rumpf, 2014).
- Topoisomerase 2
Topoisomerase II is a major component of mitotic chromosomes but its role in the assembly and structural maintenance of chromosomes is rather controversial, as different chromosomal phenotypes have been observed in various organisms and in different studies on the same organism. In contrast to vertebrates that harbor two partially redundant Topo II isoforms, Drosophila and yeasts have a single Topo II enzyme. In addition, fly chromosomes, unlike those of yeast, are morphologically comparable to vertebrate chromosomes. Thus, Drosophila is a highly suitable system to address the role of Topo II in the assembly and structural maintenance of chromosomes. This study shows that modulation of Top2 function in living flies by means of mutant alleles of different strength and in vivo RNAi results in multiple cytological phenotypes. In weak Top2 mutants, meiotic chromosomes of males exhibit strong morphological abnormalities and dramatic segregation defects, while mitotic chromosomes of larval brain cells are not affected. In mutants of moderate strength, mitotic chromosome organization is normal, but anaphases display frequent chromatin bridges that result in chromosome breaks and rearrangements involving specific regions of the Y chromosome and 3L heterochromatin. Severe Top2 depletion resulted in many aneuploid and polyploid mitotic metaphases with poorly condensed heterochromatin and broken chromosomes. Finally, in the almost complete absence of Top2, mitosis in larval brains was virtually suppressed and in the rare mitotic figures observed chromosome morphology was disrupted. These results indicate that different residual levels of Top2 in mutant cells can result in different chromosomal phenotypes, and that the effect of a strong Top2 depletion can mask the effects of milder Top2 reductions. Thus, these results suggest that the previously observed discrepancies in the chromosomal phenotypes elicited by Topo II downregulation in vertebrates might depend on slight differences in Topo II concentration and/or activity (Mengoli, 2014).
Neuronal differentiation is exquisitely controlled both spatially and temporally during nervous system development. Defects in the spatiotemporal control of neurogenesis cause incorrect formation of neural networks and lead to neurological disorders such as epilepsy and autism. The mTOR kinase integrates signals from mitogens, nutrients and energy levels to regulate growth, autophagy and metabolism. The insulin receptor (InR)/mTOR pathway has been identified as a critical regulator of the timing of neuronal differentiation in the Drosophila melanogaster eye. This pathway has also been shown to play a conserved role in regulating neurogenesis in vertebrates. However, the factors that mediate the neurogenic role of this pathway are completely unknown. To identify downstream effectors of the InR/mTOR pathway transcriptional targets of mTOR were screened for neuronal differentiation phenotypes in photoreceptor neurons. The conserved gene unkempt (unk), which encodes a zinc finger/RING domain containing protein, as a negative regulator of the timing of photoreceptor differentiation. Loss of unk phenocopies InR/mTOR pathway activation and unk acts downstream of this pathway to regulate neurogenesis. In contrast to InR/mTOR signalling, unk does not regulate growth. unk therefore uncouples the role of the InR/mTOR pathway in neurogenesis from its role in growth control. The gene headcase (hdc) was identified a second downstream regulator of the InR/mTOR pathway controlling the timing of neurogenesis. Unk forms a complex with Hdc, and Hdc expression is regulated by unk and InR/mTOR signalling. Co-overexpression of unk and hdc completely suppresses the precocious neuronal differentiation phenotype caused by loss of Tsc1. Thus, Unk and Hdc are the first neurogenic components of the InR/mTOR pathway to be identified. Finally, Unkempt-like is expressed in the developing mouse retina and in neural stem/progenitor cells, suggesting that the role of Unk in neurogenesis may be conserved in mammals (Avet-Rochex, 2014).
Guided cell migration is a key mechanism for cell positioning in morphogenesis. The current model suggests that the spatially controlled activation of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) by guidance cues limits Rac activity at the leading edge, which is crucial for establishing and maintaining polarized cell protrusions at the front. However, little is known about the mechanisms by which RTKs control the local activation of Rac. Using a multidisciplinary approach, this study identified the GTP exchange factor (GEF) Vav as a key regulator of Rac activity downstream of RTKs in a developmentally regulated cell migration event, that of the Drosophila border cells (BCs). Elimination of the vav gene impairs BC migration. Live imaging analysis reveals that vav is required for the stabilization and maintenance of protrusions at the front of the BC cluster. In addition, activation of the PDGF/VEGF-related receptor (PVR) by its ligand the PDGF/PVF1 factor brings about activation of Vav protein by direct interaction with the intracellular domain of PVR. Finally, FRET analyses demonstrate that Vav is required in BCs for the asymmetric distribution of Rac activity at the front. These results unravel an important role for the Vav proteins as signal transducers that couple signalling downstream of RTKs with local Rac activation during morphogenetic movements (Fernandez-Espartero, 2014).
date revised: 4 January 2015
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