Most actin-related proteins (Arps) are highly conserved and carry out well-defined cellular functions in eukaryotes. However, many lineages like Drosophila and mammals encode divergent non-canonical Arps whose roles remain unknown. To elucidate the function of noncanonical Arps, we focus on Arp53D, which is highly expressed in testes and retained throughout Drosophila evolution. We show that Arp53D localizes to fusomes and actin cones, two germlinespecific actin structures critical for sperm maturation, via a unique N-terminal tail. Surprisingly, we find that male fertility is not impaired upon Arp53D loss, yet population cage experiments reveal that Arp53D is required for optimal fitness in Drosophila melanogaster. To reconcile these findings, we focus on Arp53D function in ovaries and embryos where it is only weakly expressed. We find that under heat stress Arp53D-knockout (KO) females lay embryos with reduced nuclear integrity and lower viability; these defects are further exacerbated in Arp53D-KO embryos. Thus, despite its relatively recent evolution and primarily testis-specific expression, non-canonical Arp53D is required for optimal embryonic development in Drosophila.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)