Gamma-tubulin is required for the structure and function of the microtubule organizing centre in Drosophila neuroblasts

EMBO J. 1995 Jan 3;14(1):28-36.


We report that in Drosophila, gamma-tubulin is required for the structure as well as the function of microtubule organizing centres (MTOCs). This conclusion is based on the identification and phenotypic characterization of a mutant allele of the gamma-tubulin gene located at region 23C of the polytene chromosome map. This mutation, which we have called gamma-tub23CPl, is caused by the insertion of a P-element within the 5' untranslated leader of the gamma-tubulin transcript. Northern and Western analysis show that gamma-tub23CPl is either a null or a very severe hypomorph as no gamma-tubulin mRNA or protein can be detected in mutant individuals. Visualization of DNA, MTOCs and microtubules by confocal laser scanning microscopy of cells from individuals homozygous for gamma-tub23CPl reveals a series of phenotypic abnormalities. Some of these are similar to those observed after disruption of gamma-tubulin function in other organisms, including mitotic arrest and a dramatic decrease in the number of microtubules, but, in addition, we have observed that mutation in this gene also results in highly abnormal MTOCs which show a variety of shapes and sizes which we never observed in wild type cells. These results show that gamma-tubulin is required for both structural and functional roles in the MTOCs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Line
  • Centrosome / pathology
  • Centrosome / physiology*
  • Centrosome / ultrastructure
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Drosophila / cytology*
  • Drosophila / embryology
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Mitosis / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Mutation
  • Nervous System / cytology
  • Nervous System / embryology
  • Nervous System / ultrastructure
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Neurons / ultrastructure
  • Spindle Apparatus / pathology
  • Tubulin / genetics
  • Tubulin / isolation & purification
  • Tubulin / physiology*


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • Tubulin