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Development. 1990 Oct;110(2):311-23.

daughterless-abo-like, a Drosophila maternal-effect mutation that exhibits abnormal centrosome separation during the late blastoderm divisions.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California, San Francisco 94143-0448.


daughterless-abo-like (dal) is a maternal-effect semilethal mutation in Drosophila. The nuclear divisions of embryos derived from homozygous dal females are normal through nuclear cycle 10. However, during nuclear cycles 11, 12 and 13, a total of about half of the nuclei in each embryo either fail to divide or fuse with a neighboring nucleus during telophase. These abnormal nuclei eventually sink into the interior of the embryo, leaving their centrosomes behind on the surface. The loss of about one-half of the peripheral nuclei into the interior of the embryo results in these embryos cellularizing during nuclear cycle 14 with about one-half the normal number of cells. Surprisingly, many of these embryos develop a nearly normal larval cuticle and 8% develop to adulthood. Observations of live embryos doubly injected with tubulin and histones that have been fluorescently labeled allows nuclear and centrosomal behavior to be directly followed as the embryo develops. We find that the abnormal nuclei arise from nuclei whose centrosomes have failed to separate normally in the previous interphase. These incompletely separated centrosomes can cause a non-functional spindle to form, leading to a nuclear division failure. Alternatively, they can form an abnormal spindle with a centrosome from a neighboring nucleus, causing two nuclei to share a common spindle pole. Such nuclei with a shared centrosome will undergo telophase fusions, unequal divisions, or division failures later in mitosis. These findings have helped us to understand the function of the centrosome in the Drosophila embryo.

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