Drosophila PLUTONIUM protein is a specialized cell cycle regulator required at the onset of embryogenesis

Lisa K. Elfring, J. Myles Axton, Douglas D. Fenger, Andrea W. Page, Janet L. Carminati, Terry L. Orr-Weaver

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Unfertilized eggs and fertilized embryos from Drosophila mothers mutant for the plutonium (plu) gene contain giant polyploid nuclei resulting from unregulated S-phase. The PLU protein, a 19-kDa ankyrin repeat protein, is present in oocytes and early embryos but is not detectable after the completion of the initial rapid S-M cycles of the embryo. The persistence of the protein during the early embryonic divisions is consistent with a direct role in linking S-phase and M-phase. When ectopically expressed in the eye disc, PLU did not perturb the cell cycle, suggesting that PLU regulates S- phase only in early embryonic development. The pan gu (png) and giant nuclei (gnu) genes also affect the S-phase in the unfertilized egg and early embryo. We show that functional png is needed for the presence of PLU protein. By analyzing png mutations of differing severity, we find that the extent of the png mutant phenotype inversely reflects the level of PLU protein. Our data suggest that PLU protein is required at the time of egg activation and the completion of meiosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)583-593
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular biology of the cell
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1997

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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