Here we report the description of the Drosophila gene futsch, which encodes a protein recognized by the monoclonal antibody 22C10 that has been widely used to visualize neuronal morphology and axonal projections. The Futsch protein is 5327 amino acids in length. It localizes to the microtubule compartment of the cell and associates with microtubules in vitro. The N- and C-terminal domains of Futsch are homologous to the vertebrate MAP1B microtubule-associated protein. The central domain of the Futsch protein is highly repetitive and shows sequence similarity to neurofilament proteins of which no Drosophila homologs have been reported. Loss-of-function analyses demonstrate that during embryogenesis Futsch is necessary for dendritic and axonal growth. Gain-of-function analyses demonstrate a functional interaction of Futsch with other MAPs. In addition, we show that during development, futsch expression is negatively regulated in non-neuronal tissues.
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