Drosophila syntaxin is required for cell viability and may function in membrane formation and stabilization

Genetics. 1996 Dec;144(4):1713-24. doi: 10.1093/genetics/144.4.1713.


The role of the Drosophila homologue of syntaxin-1A (syx) in neurotransmission has been extensively studied. However, developmental Northern analyses and in situ hybridization experiments show that SYX mRNA is expressed during all stages and in many tissues. We have isolated new mutations in syx that reveal roles for syx outside the nervous system. In the ovary, SYX is present in the germarium, but it is predominantly localized to nurse cell membranes. Mitotic recombination experiments in the germline show SYX is essential for oogenesis and may participate in membrane biogenesis in the nurse cells. In the early embryo, a large contribution of maternally deposited RNA is present, and the protein is localized at cell membranes during cellularization. After the maternal contribution is depleted, zygotically produced SYX assists secretion events occurring late in embryogenesis, such as cuticle deposition and neurotransmitter release. However, SYX is also required in larval imaginal discs, as certain hypomorphic mutant combinations exhibit rough eyes and wing notch defects indicative of cell death. Furthermore, recombinant clones that lack syx cause cell lethality in the developing eye. We propose that, similar to its roles in cuticle secretion and neurotransmitter release, SYX may mediate membrane assembly events throughout Drosophila development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Antigens, Surface / genetics*
  • Cell Membrane / genetics
  • Cell Survival / genetics
  • Drosophila / cytology
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics*
  • Syntaxin 1


  • Antigens, Surface
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Syntaxin 1