Isoform-specific roles of the Drosophila filamin-type protein Jitterbug (Jbug) during development

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Filamins are highly conserved actin-crosslinking proteins that regulate organization of the actin cytoskeleton. As key components of versatile signaling scaffolds, filamins are implicated in developmental anomalies and cancer. Multiple isoforms of filamins exist, raising the possibility of distinct functions for each isoform during development and in disease. Here, we provide an initial characterization of jitterbug (jbug), which encodes one of the two filamin-type proteins in Drosophila. We generate Jbug antiserum that recognizes all of the spliced forms and reveals differential expression of different Jbug isoforms during development, and a significant maternal contribution of Jbug protein. To reveal the function of Jbug isoforms, we create new genetic tools, including a null allele that deletes all isoforms, hypomorphic alleles that affect only a subset, and UAS lines for Gal4-driven expression of the major isoforms. Using these tools, we demonstrate that Jbug is required for viability and that specific isoforms are required in the formation of actin-rich protrusions including thoracic bristles in adults and ventral denticles in the embryo. We also show that specific isoforms of Jbug show differential localization within epithelia and that maternal and zygotic loss of jbug disrupts Crumbs (Crb) localization in several epithelial cell types.

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