The flare gene, which encodes the AIP1 protein of Drosophila, functions to regulate F-actin disassembly in pupal epidermal cells

Genetics. 2007 Aug;176(4):2223-34. doi: 10.1534/genetics.107.072959. Epub 2007 Jun 11.


Adult Drosophila are decorated with several types of polarized cuticular structures, such as hairs and bristles. The morphogenesis of these takes place in pupal cells and is mediated by the actin and microtubule cytoskeletons. Mutations in flare (flr) result in grossly abnormal epidermal hairs. We report here that flr encodes the Drosophila actin interacting protein 1 (AIP1). In other systems this protein has been found to promote cofilin-mediated F-actin disassembly. In Drosophila cofilin is encoded by twinstar (tsr). We show that flr mutations result in increased levels of F-actin accumulation and increased F-actin stability in vivo. Further, flr is essential for cell proliferation and viability and for the function of the frizzled planar cell polarity system. All of these phenotypes are similar to those seen for tsr mutations. This differs from the situation in yeast where cofilin is essential while aip1 mutations result in only subtle defects in the actin cytoskeleton. Surprisingly, we found that mutations in flr and tsr also result in greatly increased tubulin staining, suggesting a tight linkage between the actin and microtubule cytoskeleton in these cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Actin Depolymerizing Factors / genetics
  • Actin Depolymerizing Factors / metabolism
  • Actins / chemistry
  • Actins / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Cell Polarity
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Drosophila / cytology
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Drosophila / growth & development
  • Drosophila / metabolism*
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics*
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism*
  • Epidermal Cells
  • Epidermis / metabolism
  • Female
  • Genes, Insect*
  • Male
  • Microfilament Proteins / genetics*
  • Microfilament Proteins / metabolism*
  • Models, Biological
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype
  • Pupa / cytology
  • Pupa / metabolism
  • Wings, Animal / growth & development
  • Wings, Animal / metabolism


  • ALIX protein, Drosophila
  • Actin Depolymerizing Factors
  • Actins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • tsr protein, Drosophila