Development (Cambridge, England)

Direct interaction between two actin nucleators is required in Drosophila oogenesis.

PMID 24089467


Controlled actin assembly is crucial to a wide variety of cellular processes, including polarity establishment during early development. The recently discovered actin mesh, a structure that traverses the Drosophila oocyte during mid-oogenesis, is essential for proper establishment of the major body axes. Genetic experiments indicate that at least two proteins, Spire (Spir) and Cappuccino (Capu), are required to build this mesh. The spire and cappuccino genetic loci were first identified as maternal effect genes in Drosophila. Mutation in either locus results in the same phenotypes, including absence of the mesh, linking them functionally. Both proteins nucleate actin filaments. Spir and Capu also interact directly with each other in vitro, suggesting a novel synergistic mode of regulating actin. In order to understand how and why proteins with similar biochemical activity would be required in the same biological pathway, genetic experiments were designed to test whether a direct interaction between Spir and Capu is required during oogenesis. Indeed, data in this study indicate that Spir and Capu must interact directly with one another and then separate to function properly. Furthermore, these actin regulators are controlled by a combination of mechanisms, including interaction with one another, functional inhibition and regulation of their protein levels. Finally, this work demonstrates for the first time in a multicellular organism that the ability of a formin to assemble actin filaments is required for a specific structure.