Combover interacts with the axonemal component Rsp3 and is required for Drosophila sperm individualization

Josefa Steinhauer, Benjamin Statman, Jeremy K. Fagan, Jacob Borck, Satya Surabhi, Prathibha Yarikipati, Daniel Edelman, Andreas Jenny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Gamete formation is key to survival of higher organisms. In male animals, spermatogenesis gives rise to interconnected spermatids that differentiate and individualize into mature sperm, each tightly enclosed by a plasma membrane. In Drosophila melanogaster, individualization of sister spermatids requires the formation of specialized actin cones that synchronously move along the sperm tails, removing inter-spermatid bridges and most of the cytoplasm. Here, we show that Combover (Cmb), originally identified as an effector of planar cell polarity (PCP) under control of Rho kinase, is essential for sperm individualization. cmb mutants are male sterile, with actin cones that fail to move in a synchronized manner along the flagella, despite being correctly formed and polarized initially. These defects are germline autonomous, independent of PCP genes, and can be rescued by wild-type Cmb, but not by a version of Cmb in which known Rho kinase phosphorylation sites are mutated. Furthermore, Cmb binds to the axonemal component Radial spoke protein 3, knockdown of which causes similar individualization defects, suggesting that Cmb coordinates the individualization machinery with the microtubular axonemes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberdev179275
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number17
StatePublished - 2019


  • Axoneme
  • Combover
  • Individualization
  • Planar cell polarity
  • Rho kinase
  • Spermatogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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