Drosophila Short stop as a paradigm for the role and regulation of spectraplakins

Andre Voelzmann, Yu Ting Liew, Yue Qu, Ines Hahn, Cristina Melero, Natalia Sanchez-Soriano, Andreas Prokop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Spectraplakins are evolutionarily well conserved cytoskeletal linker molecules that are true members of three protein families: plakins, spectrins and Gas2-like proteins. Spectraplakin genes encode at least 7 characteristic functional domains which are combined in a modular fashion into multiple isoforms, and which are responsible for an enormous breadth of cellular functions. These functions are related to the regulation of actin, microtubules, intermediate filaments, intracellular organelles, cell adhesions and signalling processes during the development and maintenance of a wide variety of tissues. To gain a deeper understanding of this enormous functional diversity, invertebrate genetic model organisms, such as the fruit fly Drosophila, can be used to develop concepts and mechanistic paradigms that can inform the investigation in higher animals or humans. Here we provide a comprehensive overview of our current knowledge of the Drosophila spectraplakin Short stop (Shot). We describe its functional domains and isoforms and compare them with those of the mammalian spectraplakins dystonin and MACF1. We then summarise its roles during the development and maintenance of the nervous system, epithelia, oocytes and muscles, taking care to compare and contrast mechanistic insights across these functions in the fly, but especially also with related functions of dystonin and MACF1 in mostly mammalian contexts. We hope that this review will improve the wider appreciation of how work on Drosophila Shot can be used as an efficient strategy to promote the fundamental concepts and mechanisms that underpin spectraplakin functions, with important implications for biomedical research into human disease.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberYSCDB2225
Pages (from-to)40-57
JournalSeminars in Cell and Developmental Biology
Early online date1 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 4 Sept 2017


  • spectraplakins
  • cytoskeleton
  • Drosophila
  • disease
  • actin
  • microtubules


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