Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Body Building

Role of a fruit fly gene called Collier in normal muscle development

13 November 2020

Body Building

These intertwined fibres might look like a close-up of some kind of rustic wicker basket, but this is biological crafting on a microscopic level. Each strand is a muscle lining the body wall of a fruit fly larva, forming the stretchy structure that enables it to keep its shape and wriggle around in search of food. Every muscle fibre needs to be firmly attached at each end in order for it to be the right way round and work properly. Muscle fibres with a targeted change in a gene called Collier (highlighted in red) don’t attach correctly, leading to branched muscles that don’t work properly and larvae that can’t move well. Similar branched muscle fibres are seen in muscle diseases in humans such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy, so understanding the role that Collier and similar genes are playing could shed light on new approaches for treating or preventing these conditions.

Written by Kat Arney

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