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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)