Modeling human cancer by alterations of the Drosophila melanogaster gene Mary Shelley

Abdallah, Fatima, Sarah Armitage, Erik Coopes, Sarang Patel, and Jacob Kagey

The gene CG6191, dubbed “Mary Shelly”  (MS) by our lab team, is a gene found in both humans and fruit flies. The human homologue of this gene, CABLES 1, has been found to be mutated frequently in ovarian cancer. In order to study this in flies we generated a mutant allele, MS4. The goal of this study is to characterize the mutant MS phenotype associated with the MS4 allele and using RNAi (MSIR) to suppress MS. We find that making the head of the fly homozygous mutant for MS4 caused the head of the fly not to grow. We also used MSIR to suppress MS in different tissues in the fly. While a complete lack of MS resulted in no head, reducing MS in the eye had no effect on normal development, suggesting that only a small amount of MS is needed for normal development. However, MSIR in the wing resulted in altered wing development and MSIR in the entire organism resulted in the formation of melanotic tumors. Therefore, our finds demonstrate that MS has an important role in normal Drosophila development and altering or suppressing the MS gene results in overgrowth and developmental abnormalities.