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Dev Biol. 1989 Feb;131(2):415-29.

A variant beta-tubulin isoform of Drosophila melanogaster (beta 3) is expressed primarily in tissues of mesodermal origin in embryos and pupae, and is utilized in populations of transient microtubules.

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Department of Biology, Indiana University, Bloomington 47405.


The beta 3-tubulin gene of Drosophila melanogaster codes for a variant tubulin isoform which is expressed at two distinct times during development: (1) during midembryogenesis from 8-16 hr postfertilization, and (2) during the 4 days of pupal development. We have determined the spatial pattern of beta 3-tubulin expression by localizing the beta 3 mRNA in paraffin sections using a 3' message-specific RNA probe and by localizing the beta 3 protein using a polyclonal antibody specific for Drosophila beta 3-tubulin. During embryogenesis beta 3 is restricted to and is expressed in all of the developing muscles. During pupal development beta 3 is also expressed at high levels in developing adult muscles. In addition, early in pupal development beta 3 is expressed in the imaginal discs, while at later times beta 3 is expressed in the epidermal cells of the wing blade, the optic lobe, the ovaries, and the testes. The expression of beta 3 tubulin ceases by the end of pupal development in all of these tissues except the ovaries and testes where expression persists into the adult. In both developing muscles and wings our results indicate that beta 3-tubulin is utilized in populations of specialized but transient cytoskeletal microtubules which are involved in establishing the final form of the tissue.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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