Whited JL, Cassell A, Brouillette M, Garrity PA. 2004. Dynactin is required to maintain nuclear position within postmitotic Drosophila photoreceptor neurons. Development (Cambridge, England). 131(19):4677-86. Pubmed: 15329347


How a nucleus is positioned within a highly polarized postmitotic animal cell is not well understood. In this work, we demonstrate that the Dynactin complex (a regulator of the microtubule motor protein Dynein) is required to maintain the position of the nucleus within post-mitotic Drosophila melanogaster photoreceptor neurons. We show that multiple independent disruptions of Dynactin function cause a relocation of the photoreceptor nucleus toward the brain, and that inhibiting Dynactin causes the photoreceptor to acquire a bipolar appearance with long leading and trailing processes. We find that while the minus-end directed motor Dynein cooperates with Dynactin in positioning the photoreceptor nucleus, the plus-end directed microtubule motor Kinesin acts antagonistically to Dynactin. These data suggest that the maintenance of photoreceptor nuclear position depends on a balance of plus-end and minus-end directed microtubule motor function.

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Jessica Whited studies limb regeneration in axolotl salamanders. Her lab develops tools to manipulate gene expression during limb regeneration, and explores signaling events following wound healing that initiate the regenerative process.

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