The Drosophila Microtubule-Associated Protein Mini Spindles Is Required for Cytoplasmic Microtubules in Oogenesis

Curr Biol. 2004 Nov 9;14(21):1957-61. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2004.10.023.


The XMAP215/TOG family of proteins is a closely related set of MAPs (microtubule-associated proteins) found in animals, yeast, and plants . In yeast and animal cells, the XMAP215/TOG proteins are required for both mitosis and meiosis. Although effects of XMAP215/TOG proteins on cytoplasmic microtubules have not previously been shown in animal cells, in plants the Arabidopsis family member MOR1 is required for the organization of cortical microtubule arrays . The Drosophila family member, encoded by the mini spindles (msps) gene, is maternally expressed and loaded into the egg, where it is an essential component of meiotic and mitotic spindles . Here we show that msps is also required during oogenesis for the structure and function of cytoplasmic microtubules. Localization of bicoid (bcd) mRNA in the oocyte is a microtubule-mediated event . We show that bcd RNA localization is defective in msps mutants. We also identify defects in cytoplasmic microtubules in both the germ and follicle cells of mutant ovaries and determine the expression pattern of msps mRNA and protein in developing egg chambers. Our findings reveal a new role for msps in cell patterning and raise the possibility that other family members may perform similar functions.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism*
  • Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism*
  • Homeodomain Proteins / metabolism
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins / metabolism*
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Microtubules / physiology*
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Oocytes / metabolism
  • Oogenesis / physiology*
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism*
  • Trans-Activators / metabolism


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Homeodomain Proteins
  • Microtubule-Associated Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Trans-Activators
  • bcd protein, Drosophila
  • msps protein, Drosophila