In Drosophila, the large muscle protein, projectin, has very different localizations in synchronous and asynchronous muscles, suggesting that projectin has different functions in different muscle types. The multiple projectin isoforms are encoded by a single gene; however they differ significantly in size (as detected by gel mobility) and show differences in some peptide fragments, presumably indicating alternative splicing or termination. We now report additional sequence of the projectin gene, showing a kinase domain and flanking regions highly similar to equivalent regions of twitchin, including a possible autoinhibitory region. In spite of apparent differences in function, all isoforms of projectin have the kinase domain and all are capable of autophosphorylation in vitro. The projectin gene is in polytene region 102C/D where the bentD phenotype maps. The recessive lethality of bentD is associated with a breakpoint that removes sequence of the projectin kinase domain. We find that different alleles of the highly mutable recessive lethal complementation group, l(4)2, also have defects in different parts of the projectin sequence, both NH2-terminal and COOH-terminal to the bentD breakpoint. These alleles are therefore renamed as alleles of the bent locus. Adults heterozygous for projectin mutations show little, if any, effect of one defective gene copy, but homozygosity for any of the defects is lethal. The times of death can vary with allele. Some alleles kill the embryos, others are larval lethal. These molecular studies begin to explain why genetic studies suggested that l(4)2 was a complex (or pseudoallelic) locus.

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