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Keywords:

  • Drosophila;
  • eye;
  • photoreceptor;
  • development;
  • polarity;
  • crumbs

Abstract

The establishment of apicobasal polarity in epithelial cells is a prerequisite for their function. Drosophila photoreceptor cells derive from epithelial cells, and their apical membranes undergo elaborate differentiation during pupal development, forming photosensitive rhabdomeres and associated stalk membranes. Crumbs (Crb), a transmembrane protein involved in the maintenance of epithelial polarity in the embryo, defines the stalk as a subdomain of the apical membrane. Crb organizes a complex composed of several PDZ domain-containing proteins, including DPATJ (formerly known as Discs lost). Taking advantage of a DPATJ mutant line in which only a truncated form of the protein is synthesized, we demonstrate that DPATJ is necessary for the stability of the Crb complex at the stalk membrane and is crucial for stalk membrane development and rhabdomere maintenance during late pupal stages. Moreover, DPATJ protects against light-induced photoreceptor degeneration. Developmental Dynamics 235:895–907, 2006. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.