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Development. 2011 Mar;138(6):1111-20. doi: 10.1242/dev.057422.

Auxilin is required for formation of Golgi-derived clathrin-coated vesicles during Drosophila spermatogenesis.

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  • 1Department of Biological Sciences, Purdue University, 915 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907-2054, USA.


Clathrin has previously been implicated in Drosophila male fertility and spermatid individualization. To understand further the role of membrane transport in this process, we analyzed the phenotypes of mutations in Drosophila auxilin (aux), a regulator of clathrin function, in spermatogenesis. Like partial loss-of-function Clathrin heavy chain (Chc) mutants, aux mutant males are sterile and produce no mature sperm. The reproductive defects of aux males were rescued by male germ cell-specific expression of aux, indicating that auxilin function is required autonomously in the germ cells. Furthermore, this rescue depends on both the clathrin-binding and J domains, suggesting that the ability of Aux to bind clathrin and the Hsc70 ATPase is essential for sperm formation. aux mutant spermatids show a deficit in formation of the plasma membrane during elongation, which probably disrupts the subsequent coordinated migration of investment cones during individualization. In wild-type germ cells, GFP-tagged clathrin localized to clusters of vesicular structures near the Golgi. These structures also contained the Golgi-associated clathrin adaptor AP-1, suggesting that they were Golgi-derived. By contrast, in aux mutant cells, clathrin localized to abnormal patches surrounding the Golgi and its colocalization with AP-1 was disrupted. Based on these results, we propose that Golgi-derived clathrin-positive vesicles are normally required for sustaining the plasma membrane increase necessary for spermatid differentiation. Our data suggest that Aux participates in forming these Golgi-derived clathrin-positive vesicles and that Aux, therefore, has a role in the secretory pathway.

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