The Drosophila inflated (if) gene encodes the alphaPS2 subunit of the PS family of integrins. The if transcript is spliced such that alphaPS2 is found in two alternative forms, alphaPS2(C) and alphaPS2(m8), which differ by 25 amino acid residues in a region shown to affect cation requirements and ligand specificity. In this study, we examine the functional significance of the protein isoforms of if by analyzing the ability of transgenes producing only one isoform to rescue developmental abnormalities associated with complete loss of PS2 integrin. We find that either form of alphaPS2 is sufficient to rescue if- animals to viability; however, the alphaPS2(C) form promotes higher survival of the organism. Furthermore, these studies suggest distinct roles for alphaPS2(C) and alphaPS2(m8) during development. When expressed in the developing wing, alphaPS2(m8) is more efficient at rescuing the if wing blister phenotype than is alphaPS2(C). Expression of alphaPS2(C) in the eye produces dominant disruption of photoreceptor organization. We have also examined the ability of alphaPS2 and alphaPS1 to maintain photoreceptor organization in the Drosophila retina. Clonal analysis of sectioned eyes suggests a requirement for alphaPS1, but not alphaPS2. However, ectopic expression of if(m8) or if(C) shows that either splice form Of alphaPS2 can functionally replace alphaPS1 and rescue the mew eye phenotype.

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