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Journal of Cell Science


Geisel School of Medicine


Actin bundle assembly in specialized structures such as microvilli on intestinal epithelia and Drosophila bristles requires two actin bundling proteins. In these systems, the distinct biochemical properties and temporal localization of actin bundling proteins suggest that these proteins are not redundant. During Drosophila oogenesis, the formation of cytoplasmic actin bundles in nurse cells requires two actin bundling proteins, fascin encoded by the singed gene and a villin-like protein encoded by the quail gene. singed and quail mutations are fully recessive and each mutation disrupts nurse cell cytoplasmic actin bundle formation. We used P-element mediated germline transformation to overexpress quail in singed mutants and test whether these proteins have redundant functions in vivo. Overexpression of quail protein in a sterile singed background restores actin bundle formation in egg chambers. The degree of rescue by quail depends on the level of quail protein overexpression, as well as residual levels of fascin function. In nurse cells that contain excess quail but no fascin, the cytoplasmic actin network initially appears wild type but then becomes disorganized in the final stages of nurse cell cytoplasm transport. The ability of quail overexpression to compensate for the absence of fascin demonstrates that fascin is partially redundant with quail in the Drosophila germline. Quail appears to function as a bundle initiator while fascin provides bundle organization.