The Tomaj mutant alleles of αTubulin67C reveal a requirement for the encoded maternal specific tubulin isoform in the sperm aster, the cleavage spindle apparatus and neurogenesis during embryonic development in Drosophila

Endre Máthá, Imre Boros, Katalin Jósvay, Kaijun Li, Jaakko Puro, Thomas C. Kaufman, János Szabad

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The three dominant Tomaj(D) and their eleven revertant (Tomaj(R)) alleles have been localized to the αTubulin67C gene of Drosophila melanogaster. Although the meiotic divisions are normally completed in eggs laid by Tomaj(D)/+, Tomaj(D)/-, Tomaj(R)/- females, embryogenesis arrests prior to the gonomeric division. The arrest is caused by: (1) the failure of prominent sperm aster formation; and (2) a consequent lack of female pronuclear migration towards the male pronucleus. Concomitant with the sperm aster defect, the four female meiotic products fuse (tetra-fusion), similar to what is seen in eggs of wild-type virgin females. In eggs of females heterozygous for weaker Tomaj(R) alleles, embryogenesis comes to a cessation before or shortly after cortical migration of cleavage nuclei. The apparent source of embryonic defect is the cleavage spindle apparatus. One of the three Tomaj(D) alleles is cold-sensitive and its cold-sensitive period coincides with the completion of female meiosis and pronuclear migration. Disorganized central and peripheral nervous systems are also characteristic of embryos derived from the temperature-sensitive Tomaj(D)/+ females. The Tomaj mutant phenotypes indicate an involvement of the normal αTubulin67C gene product in: (1) the formation of the sperm aster; (2) cleavage spindle apparatus formation/function; and (3) the differentiation of the embryonic nervous system. The Tomaj(D) alleles encode a normal-sized αTubulin67C isotype. Sequence analyses of the Tomaj(D) alleles revealed the replacement in different positions of a single negatively charged or neutral amino acid with a positively charged one. These residues presumably identify important functional sites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)887-896
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of cell science
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - May 12 1998



  • Drosophila
  • Female sterility
  • Microtubule
  • Sperm aster
  • α-tubulin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cell Biology

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