Developmental regulation of vesicle transport in Drosophila embryos: Forces and kinetics

Michael A. Welte, Steven P. Gross, Marya Postner, Steven M. Block, Eric F. Wieschaus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

334 Scopus citations


In Drosophila embryos, microtubules oriented along apical-basal directions support saltatory vesicle movement. Vesicle traffic includes lipid droplets whose distribution shifts twice during early embryogenesis. Using microscopy, optical tweezers, and a novel squashed-mount embryo preparation, we tracked single droplets and measured the forces these generated. Droplet stalling forces change developmentally, in a roughly quantized fashion, consistent with variation in the number of active motors. We characterized a mutation, klarsicht, that affects droplet transport. Klar+ facilitates changes in force, possibly by coordinating the activity of multiple motors. Alterations in transport affected motion in both apical and basal directions, indicating fight coupling between motors of opposite polarity. Mutations in klar also affect nuclear migration during eye development, suggesting multiple roles for klar-based transport.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)547-557
Number of pages11
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 20 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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