Expression and localization of clathrin heavy chain in Drosophila melanogaster

Gene Expr Patterns. 2009 Oct;9(7):549-54. doi: 10.1016/j.gep.2009.06.007. Epub 2009 Jul 3.


Clathrin-coated vesicles mediate cellular endocytosis of nutrients and molecules that are involved in a variety of biological processes. Basic components of the vesicle coat are clathrin heavy chain (Chc) and clathrin light chain molecules. In Drosophila melanogaster the chc gene function has been analyzed in a number of previous studies mainly using genetic approaches. However, the chc mRNA and protein expression patterns have not been studied systematically. We have generated an antibody that specifically recognizes Chc and we have analyzed chc RNA and protein expression patterns throughout embryonic and larval stages. We found that chc mRNA and protein are highly expressed from early stages of embryogenesis onwards, consistent with genetic studies predicting a maternal contribution of the gene function. During subsequent stages mRNA and protein are co-expressed in all embryonic cells; however we found an up-regulation in specific tissues including the gut, the salivary glands, tracheal system and the epidermis. In addition the central nervous system and the nephrocyte-like garland cells show strong Chc expression at late embryogenesis. In larvae Chc is highly expressed in garland cells, imaginal discs, fat body, salivary glands and the ring gland. Subcellularly, we found Chc protein in a vesicle-like pattern within the cytoplasm and at the plasma membrane. Co-labeling studies show that Chc is partially in contact with the trans-Golgi network and co-localizes with markers for early endocytosis. Together, the antibody may serve as a new tool to study the function of Chc in clathrin-dependent cellular processes, such as endocytosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Clathrin Heavy Chains / analysis*
  • Clathrin Heavy Chains / genetics*
  • Clathrin Heavy Chains / metabolism
  • Clathrin-Coated Vesicles / metabolism
  • Drosophila Proteins / analysis*
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics*
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / metabolism
  • Endocytosis
  • Gene Expression
  • Genes, Insect
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Clathrin Heavy Chains