The Role of Spectraplakin in Drosophila Photoreceptor Morphogenesis
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Mui, Uyen Ngoc
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Cell polarity, the correct positioning of membrane proteins in the apical and basolateral domains, is critical for the proper development of retinal photoreceptor cells. The regulation of cell polarity is controlled by cell polarity complexes. Crumbs (Crb), a transmembrane protein belonging to the Crb complex, has a critical role in the regulation of the rhabdomeres and adherens junctions during photoreceptor cell elongation. In turn, the cell polarity complexes are influenced by other regulators. Here, I found that Spectraplakin, an actin-microtubule cross-linking protein, participates in the regulation of the localization of Crb during photoreceptor morphogenesis. The Spectraplakin genes are highly conserved throughout evolution, which makes the Drosophila eye an excellent model. The Spectraplakin gene in Drosophila is known as short stop, shot. Shot localizes at the rhabdomere terminal web, located at the Crb domain, and serves as a transition zone for the constant delivery of proteins needed for the photoreceptor. Genetic analysis data indicates that Shot and Crb require each other reciprocally for correct targeting to the final sites within photoreceptor cells. Mutations in shot affect photoreceptor morphogenesis by causing cell polarity defects.