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Genetics. 1996 May;143(1):249-58.

Single amino acid mutations in Drosophila fascin disrupt actin bundling function in vivo.

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


Fascins bundle actin filaments into large, tightly packed hexagonal arrays that support diverse cellular processes including microvillar projections and filopodial extensions. In Drosophila, fascin is encoded by the singed locus. Severe singed mutants have gnarled bristles and are female sterile due to a defect in rapid cytoplasm transport during oogenesis. In this paper, we report the results of a large EMS mutagenesis screen to generate new singed alleles. A mutation that changes glycine 409 to glutamic acid results in partial inactivation of fascin in vivo; singedG409E mutants have kinked bristles and are fertile with a mild nurse cell cytoplasm transport defect. This mutation is in a small conserved domain near the C-terminus of fascin. A mutation that changes serine 289 to asparagine almost completely inactivates fascin in vivo; singedS289N mutants have gnarled bristles and are sterile due to a severe defect in nurse cell cytoplasm transport caused by the absence of nurse cell cytoplasmic actin bundles. A subsequent EMS mutagenesis screen for dominant suppressors of singedS289N sterility revealed an intragenic suppressor mutation that changes serine 251 to phenylalanine and restores much of fascin's function. These two mutations, S289N and S251F, draw attention to a central domain in fascin.

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