The role of spectrin in Drosophila photoreceptor development.
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Chen, Tony W.
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Spectrin is a cytoskeletal protein that interacts with the plasma membrane, forming a scaffolding and playing an important role in maintenance of plasma membrane integrity and cytoskeletal structure. In Drosophila, spectrin is composed of 3 subunits: α-spectrin, β-spectrin, and βH-spectrin. The interaction between them is important in generating the different polarized membranes in the cell. This study identified the specific effects of spectrin on Drosophila photoreceptor development. In fruit flies the mosaic technique can be used to express both the mutant and the wild-type tissue in a single eye. The mosaic eyes were dissected, fixed, and mounted onto a slide and analyzed using confocal microscopy. Specific roles of α-spectrin, β-spectrin, and βH-spectrin in photoreceptor development were identified and analyzed. This analysis can lead to the identification of the functions of spectrin in photoreceptor development, and to the potential function of spectrin in vertebrate eye development and in causing certain retinal diseases.