We have cloned the gene for Drosophila gelsolin. Two mRNAs are produced from this gene by differential splicing. The protein encoded by the longer mRNA has a signal peptide and its electrophoretic mobility when translated in vitro in the presence of microsomes is higher than when it is translated without microsomes. The protein translated from the shorter mRNA does not show this difference. This indicates that Drosophila like vertebrates has two forms of gelsolin, one secreted, the other cytoplasmic. The mRNA for both is present ubiquitously in the early embryo. Later, the cytoplasmic form is expressed in parts of the gut. The RNA for the secreted form is expressed in the fat body, and the secreted protein is abundant in extracellular fluid (hemolymph). The cytoplasmic form of gelsolin co-localizes with F-actin in the cortex of the cells in the embryo and in larval epithelia. However, during cellularization of the blastoderm it is reduced at the base of the cleavage furrow, a structure similar to the contractile ring in dividing cells.

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