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Genesis. 2001 Apr;29(4):196-209.

The arrest gene is required for germline cyst formation during Drosophila oogenesis.

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Department of Cell Biology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, USA.


In Drosophila, oogenesis is initiated when a germline stem cell produces a differentiating daughter cell called the cystoblast. The cystoblast undergoes four rounds of synchronous divisions with incomplete cytokinesis to generate a syncytial cyst of 16 interconnected cystocytes, in which one cystocyte differentiates into an oocyte. Strong mutations of the arrest (aret) gene disrupt cyst formation and cause the production of clusters of ill-differentiated germline cells that retain cellular and molecular characteristics of cystoblasts. These mutant germ cells express high levels of BAM-C and SXL proteins in the cytoplasm but do not accumulate markers for advanced cystocytes or differentiating oocytes, such as the nuclear localization of SXL or the accumulation of osk mRNA, orb mRNA, and cytoplasmic dynein. However, the mutant germ cells do not contain spectrosomes, the cytoplasmic structure that objectifies the divisional asymmetry of the cystoblast. The aret mutant germ cells undergo active mitosis with complete cytokinesis. Their mitosis is accompanied by massive necrosis, so that the number of germ cells in a stem cell-derived cluster ranges from one to greater than 70. These defects of aret mutants reveal a novel function of aret as the first gene with a defined function in the cystoblast to cyst transition during early oogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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