In this study we describe a novel Drosophila protein Jupiter, which shares properties with several structural microtubule-associated proteins (MAPs) including TAU, MAP2, MAP4. Jupiter is a soluble unfolded molecule with the high net positive charge, rich in Glycine. It possesses two degenerated repeats around the sequence PPGG, separated by a Serine-rich region. Jupiter associates with microtubules in vitro and, fused with the green fluorescent protein (GFP), is an excellent marker to follow microtubule dynamics in vivo. In a jupiter transgenic Drosophila strain generated by the "protein-trap" technique, Jupiter:GFP fusion protein localizes to the microtubule network through the cell cycle at the different stages of development. We found particularly high Jupiter:GFP concentrations in the young embryo, larval nervous system, precursors of eye photoreceptors and adult ovary. Moreover, from jupiter:gfp embryos we have established two permanent cell lines presenting strongly fluorescent microtubules during the whole cell cycle. In these cells, the distribution of the Jupiter:GFP fusion protein reproduces microtubule behavior upon treatment by the drugs colchicine and taxol. The jupiter cell lines and fly strain should be of wide interest for biologists interested in in vivo analysis of microtubule dynamics.
Copyright 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.