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Dev Biol. 1999 Mar 15;207(2):393-407.

A novel follicle-cell-dependent dominant female sterile allele, StarKojak, alters receptor tyrosine kinase signaling in Drosophila.

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Department of Molecular Biosciences, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, 66045, USA.


We describe a new dominant allele, StarKojak, that alters receptor tyrosine kinase signaling in the follicle cells and in the eyes in Drosophila. We isolated StarKojak in a screen for follicle-cell-dependent dominant female sterile mutations. We show that StarKojak and revertants of StarKojak do not complement Star loss-of-function mutations. We propose that StarKojak is a novel type of allele of Star that has both dominant gain-of-function phenotypes early in development and dominant loss-of-function phenotypes later in development. Star encodes a putative transmembrane protein that has previously been shown to be a critical component of the epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase signaling pathway. Early in oogenesis, Star mRNA expression is higher in StarKojak egg chambers than in wild-type egg chambers, consistent with its gain-of-function phenotype. Later in oogenesis, Star mRNA expression is lower in StarKojak follicle cells than in wild-type follicle cells, consistent with its loss-of-function phenotype. By genetically analyzing StarKojak and its revertants, we present evidence that Star is involved in anterior-posterior axis formation both in the female germline cells and in the somatic follicle cells. We also demonstrate that at least part of the dominant female sterile phenotype of StarKojak is restricted to the posterior-pole follicle cells. We propose that Star functions by processing pro-Gurken to mature Gurken, which is thereby released in the region between the oocyte and the follicle cells and binds to the epidermal growth factor receptor in the follicle cells.

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