Enhancement of the ncdD microtubule motor mutant by mutants of alpha Tub67C.
Ncd is a kinesin-related microtubule motor protein required for chromosome segregation in Drosophila oocytes and early embryos. In tests for interactions with other proteins, we find that mutants of alpha Tub67C, which affect an oocyte- and early embryo-specific alpha-tubulin, enhance meiotic nondisjunction and zygotic loss of ncdD, a partial loss-of-function mutant of ncd. The enhancement is dominant and allele-specific with respect to alpha Tub67C, and depends on the recessive effects of ncdD. Cytologically, embryos of alpha Tub67C/+ show delayed meiotic divisions and defective female pronucleus formation, while meiotic spindle assembly is abnormal in embryos of ncdD/ncdD. Doubly mutant alpha Tub67C ncdD/ncdD embryos are rescued for female pronucleus formation, but show delayed meiotic progression and defective pronuclear conjugation or fusion. Delayed completion of meiosis, together with failure of pronuclear fusion, prevents normal interactions of maternal with paternal chromosomes, enhancing the ncdD mutant phenotype. The genetics and cytology of doubly mutant embryos and the molecular defect of NcdD provide evidence for interaction of Ncd with alpha Tub67C in vivo. These results imply that a specific alpha-tubulin isoform is required for normal cellular function of a kinesin motor protein.
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