Protein equilibration through somatic ring canals in Drosophila

Science. 2013 Jun 21;340(6139):1445-7. doi: 10.1126/science.1234887. Epub 2013 May 23.


Although intercellular bridges resulting from incomplete cytokinesis were discovered in somatic Drosophila tissues decades ago, the impact of these structures on intercellular communication and tissue biology is largely unknown. In this work, we demonstrate that the ~250-nanometer-diameter somatic ring canals permit diffusion of cytoplasmic contents between connected cells and across mitotic clone boundaries and enable the equilibration of protein between transcriptionally mosaic follicle cells in the Drosophila ovary. We obtained similar, although more restricted, results in the larval imaginal discs. Our work illustrates the lack of cytoplasmic autonomy in these tissues and suggests a role for somatic ring canals in promoting homogeneous protein expression within the tissue.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle
  • Cytoplasm / metabolism*
  • Cytoplasmic Structures / metabolism*
  • Cytoplasmic Structures / ultrastructure*
  • Diffusion
  • Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Giant Cells / ultrastructure
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / metabolism*
  • Imaginal Discs / metabolism*
  • Imaginal Discs / ultrastructure*
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Mitosis
  • Ovarian Follicle / cytology
  • Ovarian Follicle / metabolism
  • Ovarian Follicle / ultrastructure
  • Protein Transport*
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Transgenes


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins