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Curr Biol. 2006 Jan 24;16(2):195-201.

The class I PITP giotto is required for Drosophila cytokinesis.

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Dipartimento di Genetica e Biologia Molecolare, Istituto Pasteur-Fondazione Cenci Bolognetti, Istituto di Biologia e Patologia Molecolari del CNR, Università di Roma La Sapienza, P.le A. Moro 5, 00185 Roma, Italy.


Phosphatidylinositol transfer proteins (PITPs) are highly conserved polypeptides that bind phosphatidylinositol or phosphatidylcholine monomers, facilitating their transfer from one membrane compartment to another . Although PITPs have been implicated in a variety of cellular functions, including lipid-mediated signaling and membrane trafficking, the precise biological roles of most PITPs remain to be elucidated . Here we show for the first time that a class I PITP is involved in cytokinesis. We found that giotto (gio), a Drosophila gene that encodes a class I PITP, serves an essential function required for both mitotic and meiotic cytokinesis. Neuroblasts and spermatocytes from gio mutants both assemble regular actomyosin rings. However, these rings fail to constrict to completion, leading to cytokinesis failures. Moreover, gio mutations cause an abnormal accumulation of Golgi-derived vesicles at the equator of spermatocyte telophases, suggesting that Gio is implicated in membrane-vesicle fusion. Consistent with these results, we found that Gio is enriched at the cleavage furrow, the ER, and the spindle envelope. We propose that Gio mediates transfer of lipid monomers from the ER to the equatorial membrane, causing a specific local enrichment in phosphatidylinositol. This change in membrane composition would ultimately facilitate vesicle fusion, allowing membrane addition to the furrow and/or targeted delivery of proteins required for cytokinesis.

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