Enabled and Capping protein play important roles in shaping cell behavior during Drosophila oogenesis

Julie Gates, Stephanie H. Nowotarski, Hongyan Yin, James P. Mahaffey, Tina Bridges, Cristina Herrera, Catarina C.F. Homem, Florence Janody, Denise J. Montell, Mark Peifer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


During development, cells craft an impressive array of actin-based structures, mediating events as diverse as cytokinesis, apical constriction, and cell migration. One challenge is to determine how cells regulate actin assembly and disassembly to carry out these cell behaviors. During Drosophila oogenesis diverse cell behaviors are seen in the soma and germline. We used oogenesis to explore developmental roles of two important actin regulators: Enabled/VASP proteins and Capping protein. We found that Enabled plays an important role in cortical integrity of nurse cells, formation of robust bundled actin filaments in late nurse cells that facilitate nurse cell dumping, and migration of somatic border cells. During nurse cell dumping, Enabled localizes to barbed ends of the nurse cell actin filaments, suggesting its mechanism of action. We further pursued this mechanism using mutant Enabled proteins, each affecting one of its protein domains. These data suggest critical roles for the EVH2 domain and its tetramerization subdomain, while the EVH1 domain appears less critical. Enabled appears to be negatively regulated during oogenesis by Abelson kinase. We also explored the function of Capping protein. This revealed important roles in oocyte determination, nurse cell cortical integrity and nurse cell dumping, and support the idea that Capping protein and Enabled act antagonistically during dumping. Together these data reveal places that these actin regulators shape oogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)90-107
Number of pages18
JournalDevelopmental biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Abelson kinase
  • Actin
  • Capping protein
  • Drosophila
  • Ena/VASP
  • Oogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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