TM2D genes regulate Notch signaling and neuronal function in Drosophila

PLoS Genet. 2021 Dec 14;17(12):e1009962. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1009962. eCollection 2021 Dec.


TM2 domain containing (TM2D) proteins are conserved in metazoans and encoded by three separate genes in each model organism species that has been sequenced. Rare variants in TM2D3 are associated with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and its fly ortholog almondex is required for embryonic Notch signaling. However, the functions of this gene family remain elusive. We knocked-out all three TM2D genes (almondex, CG11103/amaretto, CG10795/biscotti) in Drosophila and found that they share the same maternal-effect neurogenic defect. Triple null animals are not phenotypically worse than single nulls, suggesting these genes function together. Overexpression of the most conserved region of the TM2D proteins acts as a potent inhibitor of Notch signaling at the γ-secretase cleavage step. Lastly, Almondex is detected in the brain and its loss causes shortened lifespan accompanied by progressive motor and electrophysiological defects. The functional links between all three TM2D genes are likely to be evolutionarily conserved, suggesting that this entire gene family may be involved in AD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila Proteins* / genetics
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Gene Knockout Techniques
  • Membrane Proteins* / genetics
  • Mutation / genetics
  • Neurogenesis* / genetics
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Receptors, Notch* / genetics
  • Signal Transduction / genetics


  • amrt protein, Drosophila
  • Amx protein, Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Membrane Proteins
  • N protein, Drosophila
  • Receptors, Notch
  • bisc protein, Drosophila