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Dev Biol. 2010 Aug 1;344(1):224-32. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2010.05.002. Epub 2010 May 10.

closca, a new gene required for both Torso RTK activation and vitelline membrane integrity. Germline proteins contribute to Drosophila eggshell composition.

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Institut de Biologia Molecular de Barcelona (CSIC) and Institut de Recerca de Biomèdica, Barcelona, Spain.


The Drosophila eggshell is a specialised extracellular matrix (ECM) that surrounds and protects the oocyte and the embryo until its eclosion. In addition, the vitelline membrane, the innermost layer of the eggshell, holds the local determinant required to activate the Torso RTK pathway, which establishes the embryonic terminal regions. Here we report the identification and characterisation of closca, a gene encoding a new member of a group of proteins that act non-redundantly in vitelline membrane biogenesis and in Torso signalling. We also show that the Nasrat protein, another member of this group, is incorporated into the vitelline membrane, thereby indicating that the eggshell is a shared ECM that receives contributions from both follicle cells and the germline. This observation also provides a new scenario that accounts for the long known contribution of germline products to vitelline membrane biogenesis and to the follicle cell-dependent activation of the Torso receptor.

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