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Genetics. 1994 Jan;136(1):173-82.

forked proteins are components of fiber bundles present in developing bristles of Drosophila melanogaster.

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Department of Molecular Biology, University of Wyoming, Laramie 82071.


The forked (f) gene of Drosophila melanogaster encodes six different transcripts 6.4, 5.6, 5.4, 2.5, 1.9, and 1.1 kb long. These transcripts arise by the use of alternative promoters. A polyclonal antibody raised against a domain common to all of the forked-encoded products has been used to identify forked proteins on two-dimensional sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis gels and in Drosophila pupal tissues. The antibody stains fiber bundles present in bristle cells for about 15 hr during normal pupal development. Electron microscopy shows that these fibers are present from 40 to 53 hr in bristles of wild-type flies but are absent in the null f36a mutant. The forked protein(s) thus appear to be an essential part of the bristle fibers. The phenotype of the f36a mutation can be rescued by a 13-kb fragment of the forked locus containing the coding regions for the 2.5, 1.9, and 1.1-kb transcripts, suggesting that the proteins encoded by the three large forked RNAs are dispensable during bristle development. Increasing the copy number of a P[w+,f+] construct containing the 13-kb fragment induces a hypermorphic bristle phenotype whose severity correlates with the number of copies of P[w+,f+] present. These results indicate that alterations in the ratios among the forked proteins, or between forked products and other components of the fiber, result in abnormal assembly of the fibrillar cytoplasmic structures necessary for bristle morphogenesis.

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