PKN wing morphology, Rho effector signal transduction, JNK pathway


We describe the delorean mutation of the Drosophila melanogaster protein kinase N gene (pkndln) with defects in wing morphology. Flies homozygous for the recessive pkndln allele have a composite wing phenotype that exhibits changes in relative position and shape of the wing blade as well as loss of specific vein and bristle structures. The pkndln allele is the result of a P-element insertion in the first intron of the pkn locus, and the delorean wing phenotype is contingent upon the interaction of insertion-bearing alleles in trans. The presence of the insertion results in production of a novel transcript that initiates from within the 3' end of the P-element. The delorean-specific transcript is predicted to produce a wild-type PKN protein. The delorean phenotype is not the result of a reduction in pkn expression, as it could not be recreated using a variety of wing-specific drivers of pkn-RNAi expression. Rather, it is the presence of the delorean-specific transcript that correlates with the mutant phenotype. We consider the delorean wing phenotype to be due to a pairing-dependent, recessive mutation that behaves as a dosage-sensitive, gain of function. Our analysis of genetic interactions with basket and nemo reflects an involvement of pkn and Jun-terminal kinase signaling in common processes during wing differentiation and places PKN as a potential effector of Rho1’s involvement in the Jun-terminal kinase pathway. The delorean phenotype, with its associated defects in wing morphology, provides evidence of a role for PKN in adult morphogenetic processes.