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Mol Gen Genet. 1998 Oct;259(6):664-73.

The Des-1 protein, required for central spindle assembly and cytokinesis, is associated with mitochondria along the meiotic spindle apparatus and with the contractile ring during male meiosis in Drosophila melanogaster.

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Section of Genetics and Development, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853, USA.


Spermatogenesis in Drosophila melanogaster serves as an excellent model system for the isolation and analysis of genes required in the control of chromosome segregation and cytokinesis. We report here the isolation and molecular characterization of a novel P-element induced allele of the des-1 gene, which leads to male sterility as a consequence of the failure of central spindle assembly in meiotic spermatocytes and the formation of aberrant meiotic end products characteristic of cytokinesis failure. We have raised affinity-purified antibodies against a Des-1 fusion protein, and localized the Des-1 protein in Drosophila spermatocytes. We show that the Des- protein is colocalized with mitochondria throughout male meiosis, becoming intimately associated with mitochondria along the spindle apparatus during anaphase and telophase, and with the Nebenkern, or mitochondrial derivative, of the meiotic end products. In addition, a significant association of Des-1 with the contractile ring is observed during anaphase and telophase of meiosis. These observations, together with the presence of six potential transmembrane domains in the Des-1 protein, raise the possibility that Des-1 may act as part of an anchoring mechanism that links membrane-bounded cellular compartments to components of the cytoskeleton.

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