Scale-type-specific requirement for the mosquito Aedes aegypti Spindle-F homologue by regulating microtubule organization

Sanja Djokic, Anna Bakhrat, Ming Li, Omar S. Akbari, Uri Abdu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Insect epithelial cells contain unique cellular extensions such as bristles, hairs, and scales. In contrast to bristle and hair, which are not divergent in their shape, scale morphology shows high diversity. In our attempt to characterize the role of the insect-specific gene, Spindle-F (spn-F), in mosquito development, we revealed a scale-type specific requirement for the mosquito Aedes aegypti spn-F homologue. Using CRISPR-Cas9, we generated Ae-spn-F mutants and found that Ae-spn-F is an essential gene, but we were able to recover a few adult escapers. These escapers could not fly nor move, and died after 3 to 4 days. We found that in Ae-spn-F mutants, only the tip part of the bristle was affected with bulbous with misoriented ribs. We also show that in Ae-spn-F mutants, only in falcate scales, which are curved with a sharp or narrowly rounded apex, and not in other scale types, the tip region is strongly affected. Our analysis also revealed that in contrast to Drosophila spn-F, which show strong defects in both the actin and microtubule (MT) network in the bristle, the Ae-spn-F gene is required only for MT organization in scales and bristles. In summary, our results reveal that Ae-spn-F is required for shaping tapered epithelial cellular extension structures, namely, the bristle and falcate scales by affecting MT organization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)216-224
Number of pages9
JournalInsect Molecular Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2022


  • Spindle-F
  • bristle
  • microtubule
  • mosquito
  • scale

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology


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