A novel mechanism of bulk cytoplasmic transport by cortical dynein in Drosophila ovary

Wen Lu, Margot Lakonishok, Anna S. Serpinskaya, Vladimir I. Gelfand*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Cytoplasmic dynein, a major minus-end directed microtubule motor, plays essential roles in eukaryotic cells. Drosophila oocyte growth is mainly dependent on the contribution of cytoplasmic contents from the interconnected sister cells, nurse cells. We have previously shown that cytoplasmic dynein is required for Drosophila oocyte growth and assumed that it simply trans-ports cargoes along microtubule tracks from nurse cells to the oocyte. Here, we report that instead of transporting individual cargoes along stationary microtubules into the oocyte, cortical dynein actively moves microtubules within nurse cells and from nurse cells to the oocyte via the cyto-plasmic bridges, the ring canals. This robust microtubule movement is sufficient to drag even inert cytoplasmic particles through the ring canals to the oocyte. Furthermore, replacing dynein with a minus-end directed plant kinesin linked to the actin cortex is sufficient for transporting organelles and cytoplasm to the oocyte and driving its growth. These experiments show that cortical dynein performs bulk cytoplasmic transport by gliding microtubules along the cell cortex and through the ring canals to the oocyte. We propose that the dynein-driven microtubule flow could serve as a novel mode of fast cytoplasmic transport.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere75538
StatePublished - Feb 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)


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