Author's Department


Document Type


Publication Date



During spermatid individualization in Drosophila, actin structures (cones) mediate cellular remodeling that separates the syncytial spermatids into individual cells. These actin cones are composed of two structural domains, a front meshwork and a rear region of parallel bundles. We show here that the two domains form separately in time, are regulated by different sets of actin-associated proteins, can be formed independently, and have different roles. Newly forming cones were composed only of bundles, whereas the meshwork formed later, coincident with the onset of cone movement. Polarized distributions of myosin VI, Arp2/3 complex, and the actin-bundling proteins, singed (fascin) and quail (villin), occurred when movement initiated. When the Arp2/3 complex was absent, meshwork formation was compromised, but surprisingly, the cones still moved. Despite the fact that the cones moved, membrane reorganization and cytoplasmic exclusion were abnormal and individualization failed. In contrast, when profilin, a regulator of actin assembly, was absent, bundle formation was greatly reduced. The meshwork still formed, but no movement occurred. Analysis of this actin structure's formation and participation in cellular reorganization provides insight into how the mechanisms used in cell motility are modified to mediate motile processes within specialized cells.


© Copyright 2008 by The American Society for Cell Biology. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E07-08-0840

Embargo Period


Included in

Biology Commons