Mutations in the gene encoding the single transmembrane receptor multiple epidermal growth factorlike domain 10 (MEGF10) cause an autosomal recessive congenital muscle disease in humans. Although mammalian MEGF10 is expressed in the central nervous system as well as in skeletal muscle, patients carrying mutations in MEGF10 do not show symptoms of central nervous system dysfunction. drpr is the sole Drosophila homolog of the human genes MEGF10, MEGF11, and MEGF12 (JEDI, PEAR). The functional domains of MEGF10 and drpr bear striking similarities, and residues affected by MEGF10 mutations in humans are conserved in drpr. Our analysis of drpr mutant flies revealed muscle degeneration with fiber size variability and vacuolization, as well as reduced motor performance, features that have been observed in human MEGF10 myopathy. Vacuolization was also seen in the brain. Tissue-specific RNAi experiments demonstrated that drpr deficiency in muscle, but not in the brain, leads to locomotor defects. The histological and behavioral abnormalities seen in the affected flies set the stage for further studies examining the signaling pathway modulated by MEGF10/Drpr in muscle, as well as assessing the effects of genetic and/or pharmacological manipulations on the observed muscle defects. In addition, the absence of functional redundancy for Drpr in Drosophila may help elucidate whether paralogs of MEGF10 in humans (eg, MEGF11) contribute to maintaining wild-type function in the human brain.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Supported by grant 186796 from the Muscular Dystrophy Association (P.B.K.), a Boston Children's Hospital Pilot grant (P.B.K.), and a grant from the NIH ( R01 NS080929 ) (P.B.K. and I.D.).
Copyright © 2014 American Society for Investigative Pathology.