Gas2-like proteins harbour putative binding sites for both the actin and the microtubule cytoskeleton and could thus mediate crosstalk between these cytoskeletal systems. Family members are highly conserved in all metazoans but their in vivo role is not clear. The sole Drosophila Gas2-like gene, CG3973 (pigs), was recently identified as a transcriptional target of Notch signalling and might therefore link cell fate decisions through Notch activation directly to morphogenetic changes. We have generated a null mutant in CG3973 (pigs): pigs1 mutants are semi-viable but adult flies are flightless, showing indirect flight muscle degeneration, and females are sterile, showing disrupted oogenesis and severe defects in follicle cell differentiation, similar to phenotypes seen when levels of Notch/Delta signalling are perturbed in these tissues. Loss of Pigs leads to an increase in Notch signalling activity in several tissues. These results indicate that Gas2-like proteins are essential for development and suggest that Pigs acts downstream of Notch as a morphogenetic read-out, and also as part of a regulatory feedback loop to relay back information about the morphogenetic state of cells to restrict Notch activation to appropriate levels in certain target tissues.
- Accepted January 11, 2010.