Mutations in the midway Gene Disrupt a Drosophila Acyl Coenzyme A: Diacylglycerol Acyltransferase
Michael Buszczak, Xiaohui Lu, William A. Segraves, Ta Yuan Chang, Lynn Cooley

Abstract

During Drosophila oogenesis, defective or unwanted egg chambers are eliminated during mid-oogenesis by programmed cell death. In addition, final cytoplasm transport from nurse cells to the oocyte depends upon apoptosis of the nurse cells. To study the regulation of germline apoptosis, we analyzed the midway mutant, in which egg chambers undergo premature nurse cell death and degeneration. The midway gene encodes a protein similar to mammalian acyl coenzyme A: diacylglycerol acyltransferase (DGAT), which converts diacylglycerol (DAG) into triacylglycerol (TAG). midway mutant egg chambers contain severely reduced levels of neutral lipids in the germline. Expression of midway in insect cells results in high levels of DGAT activity in vitro. These results show that midway encodes a functional DGAT and that changes in acylglycerol lipid metabolism disrupt normal egg chamber development in Drosophila.

  • Received November 16, 2001.
  • Accepted January 28, 2002.
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