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Cell. 1993 Mar 12;72(5):681-93.

kelch encodes a component of intercellular bridges in Drosophila egg chambers.

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Department of Genetics, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06510.


Oocyte maturation in Drosophila is supported by a cluster of 15 germline-derived nurse cells whose cytoplasm is transported into the oocyte through intercellular bridges called ring canals. kelch was isolated as a female sterile mutation affecting cytoplasm transport. We have cloned the kelch gene and found that it encodes an unusual transcript containing two open reading frames (ORF1 and ORF2) separated by a single UGA stop codon. At least two protein products are made from the kelch mRNA: a short protein from ORF1 and a longer protein from both ORF1 and ORF2 as a result of partial suppression of the UGA codon. The kelch ORF1 product is conserved, and antibodies directed against it are localized specifically to ring canals. Our results suggest that kelch produces a component of ring canals that regulates the flow of cytoplasm between cells.

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