Washington University in St. Louis
Campus Box 1137
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130-4899
DBBS graduate programs Developmental, Regenerative and Stem Cell Biology Program
Molecular Cell Biology Program
Multicellular organisms have many different cell types that are specialized to perform processes important to the normal functioning of the organism. Generating the specialized morphologies and functional properties of these cells usually depends on actin cytoskeletal organization. To understand the roles of actin cytoskeletal structures in some of these specialized cell types, the Miller lab uses genetic and molecular genetic techniques to alter the function of particular proteins of the actin cytoskeleton. These studies use the model system, Drosophila, because this type of functional manipulation is relatively straightforward. Examination of resulting disruptions of cell morphology and function using cell biological, biochemical, and imaging methods both in vitro and in vivo (using GFP and other probes), permit understanding of contributions and regulation of activity of these specific proteins. In addition, these studies illustrate the general functions of actin structures present in cells. Because actin and its associated proteins are highly conserved across all eukaryotic species, the information obtained about mechanism of actin cytoskeletal organization and function is widely applicable.
Photo caption: Scanning electron micrograph of an adult Drosophila bristle.
Wagner, C.R., Mahowald, A.P., Miller, K.G. (2002) One of the Two Cytoplasmic Actin Isoforms in Drosophila is Essential. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA, 99: 8037-42.
Rogat, A.D. and Miller, K.G. (2002) Myosin VI cooperates with dynamin and cortactin to regulate actin structure assembly during spermatogenesis in Drosophila. Journal of Cell Science. 115 4955-4865.
Kramer, M.G., Templeton, A.R., and Miller, K.G. (2002) Evolutionary Implications of Developmental Instability in Parthenogenetic Drosophila mercatorum. I. Comparison of Several strains with different genotypes, Evolution and Development. 4: 223-233.
Kramer, M.G., Templeton, A.R., and Miller, K.G. (2002) Evolutionary Implications of Developmental Instability in Parthenogenetic Drosophila mercatorum. II. Comparison of Two strains with identical genotypes but different modes of reproduction. Evolution and Development 4: 234-41.
Noguchi, T. and K.G. Miller. (2003) A role for actin dynamics in individualization during spermatogenesis in Drosophila. Development. 130: 1805-16.
Frank, D. J., S. R. Martin, B. N. Gruender, Y. S. Lee, R. A. Simonette, P. M. Bayley, K. G. Miller and K. M. Beckingham (2006) "Androcam is a tissue-specific light chain for myosin VI in the Drosophila testis." J Biol Chem 281(34): 24728-36.
Noguchi, T., M. Lenartowska and K. G. Miller (2006) "Myosin VI stabilizes an actin network during Drosophila spermatid individualization." Mol Biol Cell 17(6): 2559-71.
Frank, D. J., R. Hopmann, M. Lenartowska and K. G. Miller (2006) "Capping Protein and the Arp2/3 Complex Regulate Nonbundle Actin Filament Assembly to Indirectly Control Actin Bundle Positioning during Drosophila melanogaster Bristle Development." Mol Biol Cell 17(9): 3930-9.
Noguchi, T., Lenartowska, M., Rogat, A.D., Frank, D.J., and Miller, K.G. (2008) Proper cellular reorganization during Drosophila spermatid individualization depends on actin structures composed of two domains,
bundles and meshwork, which are differentially regulated and have different functions. Mol Biol Cell 19(6): 2363-2372
Morrison, J.K. and Miller, K.G. (2008) Genetic characterization of the Drosophila jaguar322 mutant reveals that complete loss of myosin VI function is not lethal. Genetics 179(1): 711-716
Noguchi, T, Frank, DJ, Isaji, M., and Miller, KG. (2009) Coiled-coil mediated dimerization is not required for myosin VI to stabilize actin during spermatid individualization in Drosophila melanogaster Mol Biol Cell 20(1): 358-67
Isaji, M., Lenartowska, M., Noguchi, T., Frank, D.J., and K. G. Miller Myosin VI Regulates Actin Structure Specialization through Conserved Cargo-Binding Domain Sites. (2011) PLoS ONE 6(8): e22755.