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Fly (Austin). 2010 Jul-Sep;4(3):246-8. doi: 10.4161/fly.4.3.12174. Epub 2010 Jul 1.

The highly elongated Drosophila mechanosensory bristle--a new model for studying polarized microtubule function.

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Department of Life Sciences and the National Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev, Ben-Gurion University, Beer-Sheva, Israel.


Microtubules (MTs) are polar polymers that can facilitate asymmetric distribution of cell components, a process important for polarized cell growth. The highly elongated and polarized Drosophila mechnosensory bristle cytoplasm is filled with short MTs that constitute a significant component of the shaft cytoplasm. Inhibition of MT assembly affects biased axial growth in the bristle and highlights the importance of MTs for this process. We demonstrate that the vast majority of bristle MTs are organized in a polarized manner, minus-ends out. We also show that genetic disruption of the MT polarity affects the polar distribution of cell components and leads to an alteration in the biased axial shape of the bristle shaft. Thus, we suggest that the asymmetric organization of the MT population within the bristle cell shaft is necessary for the proper axial elongation of this cellular extension. We would also like to emphasize the benefits of using the bristle cell as a model for studying MTs and MT-binding proteins because changes to this cytoskeletal component result in easily recognized at the phenotypes.

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