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Development. 1994 Apr;120(4):947-56.

The Drosophila fusome, a germline-specific organelle, contains membrane skeletal proteins and functions in cyst formation.

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  • 1Howard Hughes Medical Institute Research Laboratories, Department of Embryology, Carnegie Institution of Washington, Baltimore, MD 21210, USA.


Oogenesis in Drosophila takes place within germline cysts that support polarized transport through ring canals interconnecting their 15 nurse cells and single oocyte. Developing cystocytes are spanned by a large cytoplasmic structure known as the fusome that has been postulated to help form ring canals and determine the pattern of nurse cell-oocyte interconnections. We identified the adducin-like hts product and alpha-spectrin as molecular components of fusomes, discovered a related structure in germline stem cells and documented regular associations between fusomes and cystocyte centrosomes. hts mutations completely eliminated fusomes, causing abnormal cysts containing a reduced number of cells to form. Our results imply that Drosophila fusomes are required for ovarian cyst formation and suggest that membrane skeletal proteins regulate cystocyte divisions.

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