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A useful model for determining the mechanisms by which actin and actin binding proteins control cellular architecture is the Drosophila melanogaster process of spermatogenesis. During the final step of spermatogenesis, 64 syncytial spermatids individualized as stable actin cones move synchronously down the axonemes and remodel the membranes. To identify new genes involved in spermatid individualization, we screened a collection of Drosophila male-sterile mutants and found that, in the line Z3-5009, actin cones formed near to the spermatid nuclei but failed to move, resulting in failed spermatid individualization. However, we show by phalloidin actin staining, electron microscopy and immunocytochemical localization of several actin binding proteins that the early cones had normal structure. We sequenced the genome of the Z3-5009 line and identified mutations in the PFTAIRE kinase L63 interactor 1A (Pif1A) gene. Quantitative real-time PCR showed that Pif1A transcript abundance was decreased in the mutant, and a transgene expressing Pif1A fused to green fluorescent protein (GFP) was able to fully rescue spermatid individualization and male fertility. Pif1A-GFP localized to the front of actin cones before initiation of movement. We propose that Pif1A plays a pivotal role in directing actin cone movement.


Harrison D Pravder, Dorota Grabowska, Kaushik Roychoudhury, Betty Zhang, Deborah Frank, Przemysław Zakrzewski, Marta Lenartowska, Kathryn G Miller. PFTAIRE Kinase L63 Interactor 1A (Pif1A Protein) Is Required for Actin Cone Movement during Spermatid Individualization in Drosophila melanogaster. International journal of molecular sciences. 2022 Mar 10;23(6)

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PMID: 35328431

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