The Drosophila cell survival gene discs lost encodes a cytoplasmic Codanin-1-like protein, not a homolog of tight junction PDZ protein Patj

Dev Cell
December 2003
Pielage J
Stork T
Bunse I
Klämbt C

The Drosophila gene discs lost (dlt) has been reported to encode a homolog of the vertebrate tight junction PDZ protein Patj, and was thought to play a role in cell polarity. Using rescue experiments and sequence analyses, we show that dlt mutations disrupt the Drosophila Codanin-1 homolog, a cytoplasmic protein, and not the PDZ protein. Mutations in human Codanin-1 are associated with congenital dyserythropoietic anemia type I (CDA I). In Drosophila, the genomic organization of dlt is unusual. dlt shares its first untranslated exon with alpha-spectrin, and both genes are coexpressed throughout development. We show that dlt is not required for cell polarity but is needed for cell survival and cell cycle progression. Finally, we present evidence that the PDZ protein previously thought to be encoded by dlt is not required for viability. We propose to rename this PDZ protein after its vertebrate homolog, Patj (Pals-associated tight junction protein).