A fly lamin gene is both like and unlike human genes

Jun 13, 2007

Mitch Dushay and colleagues at Uppsala University in Sweden announce the publication of their paper, "Characterization of lamin Mutation Phenotypes in Drosophila and Comparison to Human Laminopathies" in the June 13th issue of the online, open-access journal PLoS ONE.

Lamins are intermediate filament proteins that make up a matrix underlying the nuclear membrane. Mammals have two types of lamins; A-type lamins are expressed in differentiating cells, while B-type lamins are expressed ubiquitously.

Mutations in the gene coding for human lamin A cause a range of diseases collectively called laminopathies, including forms of muscular dystrophy and premature aging diseases. The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster has 2 lamin genes that are expressed in A- and B-type patterns, and it has been assumed that similarly expressed lamins perform similar functions.

Yet, Dushay and his colleagues, among others, have shown that the fly lamin genes are more closely related to each other than to mammalian lamin genes. While the independent evolution of similar expression patterns must have been driven by similar vital lamin gene functions, Dushay et el. found that mutations in the ubiquitously expressed Drosophila lamin gene cause larvae to move less and show subtle muscle defects, while surviving lamin adults walk poorly and can't fly – like aged wild type flies.

This suggests that lamin mutations might cause neuromuscular defects, premature aging, or both. The resemblance of Drosophila lamin phenotypes to human laminopathies provides an interesting case of gene expression and function diverging through evolution, and promises greater insight into lamin function, and possibly into laminopathic diseases and aging.

Source: Public Library of Science

Explore further: Climate change redistributes fish species at high latitudes

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Drought sees Rio's main hydro plant turned off

3 hours ago

A major Rio hydroelectric power plant was switched off after water levels slipped below an operational minimum following severe drought, Brazil's national grid told AFP on Thursday.

Recommended for you

Supercomputing the evolution of a model flower

3 hours ago

Scientists using supercomputers found genes sensitive to cold and drought in a plant help it survive climate change. These findings increase basic understanding of plant adaptation and can be applied to improve ...

Fish catch break on world stage at global conference

6 hours ago

Inland fishing - the powerful yet quieter sister to the large, salty marine aquaculture powerhouse - has gained what experts say is a much-needed visibility boost this as the first partnership between Michigan ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.