The Lipid Phosphate Phosphatase Wunen Promotes Eggshell Formation and Is Essential for Fertility in Drosophila.
The eggshell that surrounds insect eggs acts as a barrier, protecting against biotic factors and desiccation. The eggshell is a multi-layered structure which is synthesised by the somatic follicle cells that surround the developing oocyte. Although the temporal order of expression of the protein eggshell components goes someway to explaining how the different layers are built up, but how the precise three-dimensional structure is achieved and how lipid components responsible for desiccation resistance are incorporated are poorly understood. In this paper, we demonstrate that wunen, which encodes a lipid phosphate phosphatase, is necessary for fertility in Drosophila females. Compared to sibling controls, females null for wunen lay fewer eggs which subsequently collapse such that no larvae emerge. We show that this is due to a requirement for wunen in the ovarian follicle cells which is needed to produce an ordered and functional eggshell. Knockdown of a septate junction component also results in collapsed eggs, supporting the idea that similar to its role in embryonic tracheal development, Wunen in follicle cells also promotes septate junction function.
Peer reviewed: True
Funder: Max Planck