The Drosophila genome contains >13,000 protein coding genes, the majority of which remain poorly investigated. Important reasons include the lack of antibodies or reporter constructs to visualise these proteins. Here we present a genome-wide fosmid library of 10,000 GFP-tagged clones, comprising tagged genes and most of their regulatory information. For 880 tagged proteins we created transgenic lines and for a total of 207 lines we assessed protein expression and localisation in ovaries, embryos, pupae or adults by stainings and live imaging approaches. Importantly, we visualised many proteins at endogenous expression levels and found a large fraction of them localising to subcellular compartments. By applying genetic complementation tests we estimate that about two-thirds of the tagged proteins are functional. Moreover, these tagged proteins enable interaction proteomics from developing pupae and adult flies. Taken together, this resource will boost systematic analysis of protein expression and localisation in various cellular and developmental contexts.
- Hugo J Bellen, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Baylor College of Medicine, United States
© 2016, Sarov et al.
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Touch system function requires precise interactions between specialized skin cells and somatosensory axons, as exemplified by the vertebrate mechanosensory Merkel cell-neurite complex. Development and patterning of Merkel cells and associated neurites during skin organogenesis remain poorly understood, partly due to the in utero development of mammalian embryos. Here, we discover Merkel cells in the zebrafish epidermis and identify Atonal homolog 1a (Atoh1a) as a marker of zebrafish Merkel cells. We show that zebrafish Merkel cells derive from basal keratinocytes, express neurosecretory and mechanosensory machinery, extend actin-rich microvilli, and complex with somatosensory axons, all hallmarks of mammalian Merkel cells. Merkel cells populate all major adult skin compartments, with region-specific densities and distribution patterns. In vivo photoconversion reveals that Merkel cells undergo steady loss and replenishment during skin homeostasis. Merkel cells develop concomitant with dermal appendages along the trunk and loss of Ectodysplasin signaling, which prevents dermal appendage formation, reduces Merkel cell density by affecting cell differentiation. By contrast, altering dermal appendage morphology changes the distribution, but not density, of Merkel cells. Overall, our studies provide insights into touch system maturation during skin organogenesis and establish zebrafish as an experimentally accessible in vivo model for the study of Merkel cell biology.
The proprioceptive system is essential for the control of coordinated movement, posture and skeletal integrity. The sense of proprioception is produced in the brain using peripheral sensory input from receptors such as the muscle spindle, which detects changes in the length of skeletal muscles. Despite its importance, the molecular composition of the muscle spindle is largely unknown. In this study, we generated comprehensive transcriptomic and proteomic datasets of the entire muscle spindle isolated from the murine deep masseter muscle. We then associated differentially expressed genes with the various tissues composing the spindle using bioinformatic analysis. Immunostaining verified these predictions, thus establishing new markers for the different spindle tissues. Utilizing these markers, we identified the differentiation stages the spindle capsule cells undergo during development. Together, these findings provide comprehensive molecular characterization of the intact spindle as well as new tools to study its development and function in health and disease.