Feo, the Drosophila homolog of PRC1, is required for central-spindle formation and cytokinesis

Fiammetta Vernì, Maria Patrizia Somma, Kristin C. Gunsalus, Silvia Bonaccorsi, Giorgio Belloni, Michael L. Goldberg, Maurizio Gatti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We performed a functional analysis of fascetto (feo), a Drosophila gene that encodes a protein homologous to the Ase1p/PRC1/MAP65 conserved family of microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs) [1-5]. These MAPs are enriched at the spindle midzone in yeast and mammals and at the fragmoplast in plants, and are essential for the organization and function of these microtubule arrays [1-5]. Here we show that the Feo protein is specifically enriched at the central-spindle midzone and that its depletion either by mutation or by RNAi results in aberrant central spindles. In Feo-depleted cells, late anaphases showed normal overlap of the antiparallel MTs at the cell equator, but telophases displayed thin MT bundles of uniform width instead of robust hourglass-shaped central spindles. These thin central spindles exhibited diffuse localizations of both the Pav and Asp proteins, suggesting that these spindles comprise improperly oriented MTs. Feo-depleted cells also displayed defects in the contractile apparatus that correlated with those in the central spindle; late anaphase cells formed regular contractile structures, but these structures did not constrict during telophase, leading to failures in cytokinesis. The phenotype of Feo-depleted telophases suggests that Feo interacts with the plus ends of central spindle MTs so as to maintain their precise interdigitation during anaphase-telophase MT elongation and antiparallel sliding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1569-1575
Number of pages7
JournalCurrent Biology
Issue number17
StatePublished - Sep 7 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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