Vertebrate nuclear lamins form a multigene family with developmentally controlled expression. In contrast, invertebrates have long been thought to contain only a single lamin, which in Drosophila is the well-characterized lamin Dm0. Recently, however, a Drosophila cDNA clone (pG-IF) has been identified that codes for an intermediate filament protein which harbors a nuclear localization signal but lacks a carboxy-terminal CAAX motif. Based on these data the putative protein encoded by pG-IF was tentatively called Drosophila lamin C. To address whether the pG-IF encoded protein is expressed and whether it encodes a cytoplasmic intermediate filament protein or a nuclear lamin we raised antibodies against the recombinant pG-IF protein. The antibodies decorate the nuclear envelope in Drosophila Kc tissue culture cells as well as in salivary and accessory glands demonstrating that pG-IF encodes a nuclear lamin (lamin C). Antibody decoration, in situ hybridization, western and northern blotting studies show that lamin C is acquired late in embryogenesis. In contrast, lamin Dm0 is constitutively expressed. Lamin C is first detected in late stage 12 embryos in oenocytes, hindgut and posterior spiracles and subsequently also in other differentiated tissues. In third instar larvae lamins C and Dm0 are coexpressed in all tissues tested. Thus, Drosophila has two lamins: lamin Dm0, containing a CaaX motif, is expressed throughout, while lamin C, lacking a CaaX motif, is expressed only later in development. Expression of Drosophila lamin C is similar to that of vertebrate lamin A (plus C), which loses its CaaX motif during incorporation into the lamina.

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