Rolling pebbles (rols) is required in Drosophila muscle precursors for recruitment of myoblasts for fusion

Annette Rau, Detlev Buttgereit, Anne Holz, Richard Fetter, Stephen K. Doberstein, Achim Paululat, Nicole Staudt, Jim Skeath, Alan M. Michelson, Renate Renkawitz-Pohl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Mutations in the rolling pebbles (rols) gene result in severe defects in myoblast fusion. Muscle precursor cells are correctly determined, but myogenesis does not progress significantly beyond this point because recognition and/or cell adhesion between muscle precursor cells and fusion-competent myoblasts is disturbed. Molecular analysis of the rols genomic region reveals two variant transcripts of rols due to different transcription initiation sites, rols6 and rols7. rols6 mRNA is detectable mainly in the endoderm during differentiation as well as in malpighian tubules and in the epidermis. By contrast, rols7 expression is restricted to the mesoderm and later to progenitor descendants during somatic and pharyngeal muscle development. Transcription starts at the extended germ band stage when progenitor/founder cells are determined and persists until stage 13. The proteins encoded by the rols gene are 1670 (Rols6) and 1900 (Rols7) amino acids in length. Both forms contain an N-terminal RING-finger motif, nine ankyrin repeats and a TPR repeat eventually overlaid by a coiled-coil domain. The longer protein, Rols7, is characterized by 309 unique N-terminal amino acids, while Rols6 is distinguishable by 79 N-terminal amino acids. Expression of rols7 in muscle founder cells indicates a function of Rols7 in these cells. Transplantation assays of rols mutant mesodermal cells into wild-type embryos show that Rols is required in muscle precursor cells and is essential to recruit fusion-competent myoblasts for myotube formation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5061-5073
Number of pages13
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 1 2001


  • Ankyrin repeats
  • Drosophila
  • Myoblast fusion
  • Myogenesis
  • RING finger
  • TPR repeats


Dive into the research topics of 'Rolling pebbles (rols) is required in Drosophila muscle precursors for recruitment of myoblasts for fusion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this