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Dev Biol. 2005 Oct 1;286(1):238-55.

Drosophila myosin V is required for larval development and spermatid individualization.

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Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06510, USA.


Class V myosins are multifunctional molecular motors implicated in vesicular traffic, RNA transport, and mechanochemical coupling of the actin and microtubule-based cytoskeletons. To assess the function of the single myosin V gene in Drosophila (MyoV), we have characterized both deletion and truncation alleles. Mutant animals exhibit no detectable defects during embryogenesis but are delayed in larval development; most die prior to 3rd instar. MyoV protein is widely distributed; however, there are no obvious cytological defects in mutant larval tissues where MyoV was normally highly expressed. Of the few adult MyoV mutant escapers, females were fertile but males were not. We examined the expression of MyoV during spermatogenesis. MyoV was associated with membranes, microtubule, and actin structures required for spermatid maturation; MyoV was strongly associated with the sperm nuclei during the maturation of the actin-rich investment cones that package spermatids in individual membranes. In MyoV mutant escaper males, the early stages of spermatogenesis were normal; however, in the later stages, the investment cones stained weakly for actin and their registration was disrupted; no mature sperm were produced. Our results suggest that MyoV contributes to the formation of the actin-based investment cones and acts to coordinate and/or anchor these structures and other components of the individualization complex.

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