kakapo, a gene required for adhesion between and within cell layers in Drosophila, encodes a large cytoskeletal linker protein related to plectin and dystrophin

J Cell Biol. 1998 Nov 30;143(5):1271-82. doi: 10.1083/jcb.143.5.1271.


Mutations in kakapo were recovered in genetic screens designed to isolate genes required for integrin-mediated adhesion in Drosophila. We cloned the gene and found that it encodes a large protein (>5,000 amino acids) that is highly similar to plectin and BPAG1 over the first 1,000-amino acid region, and contains within this region an alpha-actinin type actin-binding domain. A central region containing dystrophin-like repeats is followed by a carboxy domain that is distinct from plectin and dystrophin, having neither the intermediate filament-binding domain of plectin nor the dystroglycan/syntrophin-binding domain of dystrophin. Instead, Kakapo has a carboxy terminus similar to the growth arrest-specific protein Gas2. Kakapo is strongly expressed late during embryogenesis at the most prominent site of position-specific integrin adhesion, the muscle attachment sites. It is concentrated at apical and basal surfaces of epidermal muscle attachment cells, at the termini of the prominent microtubule bundles, and is required in these cells for strong attachment to muscles. Kakapo is also expressed more widely at a lower level where it is essential for epidermal cell layer stability. These results suggest that the Kakapo protein forms essential links among integrins, actin, and microtubules.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Adhesion / genetics
  • Cell Adhesion / physiology
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / chemistry
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / genetics*
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / metabolism*
  • DNA Primers / genetics
  • Drosophila / cytology
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Drosophila / metabolism*
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Dystrophin / genetics
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Epithelial Cells / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Genes, Insect*
  • Insect Proteins / chemistry
  • Insect Proteins / genetics*
  • Insect Proteins / metabolism*
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins / genetics
  • Microfilament Proteins*
  • Models, Biological
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Muscles / cytology
  • Muscles / embryology
  • Muscles / metabolism
  • Mutation
  • Phylogeny
  • Plectin
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • DNA Primers
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Dystrophin
  • Insect Proteins
  • Intermediate Filament Proteins
  • Microfilament Proteins
  • Plectin
  • shot protein, Drosophila

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AJ011924
  • GENBANK/AJ011925