Segregation distortion induced by wild-type RanGAP in Drosophila

Kusano, AS, C.; Ganetzky, B.,  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America,  99:6866-6870. 2002.

Segregation Distorter (SD) is a meiotic drive system in Drosophila that causes preferential transmission of the SD chromosome from SD/SD+ males owing to the induced dysfunction of SD+ spermatids. The key distorter locus, Sid, is a dominant neomorphic allele encoding a truncated, but enzymatically active, RanGAP (RanGTPase-activating protein) whose nuclear mislocalization underlies distortion by disrupting the Ran signaling pathway. Here, we show that even wild-type RanGAP can cause segregation distortion when it is overexpressed in the male germ line or when the gene dosage of a particular modifier locus is increased. Both manipulations result in substantial nuclear accumulation of RanGAP. Distortion can be suppressed by overexpression of Ran or Ran guanine nucleotide exchange factor (RanGEF) in the male germ line, indicating that the primary consequence of nuclear mislocalization of RanGAP is reduction of intranuclear RanGTP levels. These results prove that segregation distortion does not depend on any unique properties of the mutant RanGAP encoded by Sid and provide a unifying explanation for the occurrence of distortion in a variety of experimental situations.