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Biology
Completed Project

Examining the Role of vps26 in Drosophila Oogenesis

Rebecca Starble ’17 and Nancy Pokrywka (Biology)

During endocytosis, molecules are internalized by the cell through the invagination of the plasma membrane. Endocytosis is required for proper cell function and for normal development in Drosophila. One component of the endocytic pathway is the retromer complex, which recycles transmembrane proteins to other parts of the cell such as the plasma membrane and the trans-Golgi network. Previous studies have shown that mutations to the retromer complex result in developmental defects in Drosophila. Further, in humans, retromer dysfunction has been implicated in both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. However, little is known about the role of the retromer complex in Drosophila oogenesis. In the current project, we examined the role of the retromer protein Vps26 in oogenesis by characterizing the phenotype of the vps26 mutation. This X-linked lethal mutation was studied by creating germline clones via the FLP/FRT method. Immunofluorescence was then used to visualize the expression of membrane proteins and vesicular trafficking markers in mutant egg chambers. We find that vps26- germline clones exhibit atypical nurse cell structure. Additionally, the border cells of the vps26- germline clones had significantly greater LysoTracker stain than wildtype border cells, indicating an increase in degradation via the lysosomes. These data suggest there is a defect in signaling between the germline and follicle cells. Future research will examine which signaling pathways are affected by this mutation.