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Curr Biol. 1999 Nov 4;9(21):1221-30.

Drosophila filamin encoded by the cheerio locus is a component of ovarian ring canals.

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Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06510, USA.



The ring canals in the ovary of the fruit fly Drosophila provide a versatile system in which to study the assembly and regulation of membrane-associated actin structures. Derived from arrested cleavage furrows, ring canals allow direct communication between cells. The robust inner rim of filamentous actin that attaches to the ring-canal plasma membrane contains cytoskeletal proteins encoded by the hu-li-tao shao (hts) and kelch genes, and is regulated by the Src64 and Tec29 tyrosine kinases. Female sterile cheerio mutants fail to recruit actin to ring canals, disrupting the flow of cytoplasm to oocytes.


We have cloned cheerio and found that it encodes a member of the Filamin/ABP-280 family of actin-binding proteins, known to bind transmembrane proteins and crosslink actin filaments into parallel or orthogonal arrays. Antibodies to Drosophila Filamin revealed that Filamin is an abundant ring-canal protein and the first known component of both the outer and inner rims of the ring canal. The cheerio gene also encodes a new Filamin isoform that lacks the actin-binding domain.


Localization of Filamin to nascent ring canals is necessary for the recruitment of actin filaments. We propose that Filamin links filamentous actin to the plasma membrane of the ring canal. Although loss of Filamin in human cells supports a role for Filamin in organizing orthogonal actin arrays at the cell cortex, the cheerio mutant provides the first evidence that Filamin is required in membrane-associated parallel actin bundles, such as those found in ring canals, contractile rings and stress fibers.

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