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Genetics. 1996 Mar;142(3):865-78.

Cytoplasmic dynein function is essential in Drosophila melanogaster.

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Department of Genetics and Cell Biology, University of Minnesota, St. Paul 55108, USA.


The microtubule motor cytoplasmic dynein has been implicated in a variety of intracellular transport processes. We previously identified and characterized the Drosophila gene Dhc64C, which encodes a cytoplasmic dynein heavy chain. To investigate the function of the cytoplasmic dynein motor, we initiated a mutational analysis of the Dhc64C dynein gene. A small deletion that removes the chromosomal region containing the heavy chain gene was used to isolate EMS-induced lethal mutations that define at least eight essential genes in the region. Germline transformation with a Dhc64C transgene rescued 16 mutant alleles in the single complementation group that identifies the dynein heavy chain gene. All 16 alleles were hemizygous lethal, which demonstrates that the cytoplasmic dynein heavy chain gene Dhc64C is essential for Drosophila development. Furthermore, our failure to recover somatic clones of cells homozygous for a Dhc64C mutation indicates that cytoplasmic dynein function is required for cell viability in several Drosophila tissues. The intragenic complementation of dynein alleles reveals multiple mutant phenotypes including male and/or female sterility, bristle defects, and defects in eye development.

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