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Congratulations to Corinne Tovey, 2015 cohort PhD student in the BBSRC DTP Programme, for publishing the paper ‘γ-TuRC Heterogeneity Revealed by Analysis of Mozart1’ in Current Biology.


Microtubules are essential for various cell processes [1] and are nucleated by multi-protein γ-tubulin ring complexes (γ-TuRCs) at various microtubule organizing centers (MTOCs), including centrosomes [2–6]. Recruitment of γ-TuRCs to different MTOCs at different times influences microtubule array formation, but how this is regulated remains an open question. It also remains unclear whether all γ-TuRCs within the same organism have the same composition and how any potential heterogeneity might influence γ-TuRC recruitment. MOZART1 (Mzt1) was recently identified as a γ-TuRC component [7, 8] and is conserved in nearly all eukaryotes [6, 9]. Mzt1 has so far been studied in cultured human cells, yeast, and plants; its absence leads to failures in γ-TuRC recruitment and cell division, resulting in cell death [7, 9–15]. Mzt1 is small (∼8.5 kDa), binds directly to core γ-TuRC components [9, 10, 14, 15], and appears to mediate the interaction between γ-TuRCs and proteins that tether γ-TuRCs to MTOCs [9, 15]. Here, we use Drosophila to investigate the function of Mzt1 in a multicellular animal for the first time. Surprisingly, we find that Drosophila Mzt1 is expressed only in the testes and is present in γ-TuRCs recruited to basal bodies, but not to mitochondria, in developing sperm cells. mzt1 mutants are viable but have defects in basal body positioning and γ-TuRC recruitment to centriole adjuncts; sperm formation is affected and mutants display a rapid age-dependent decline in sperm motility and male fertility. Our results reveal that tissue-specific and MTOC-specific γ-TuRC heterogeneity exist in Drosophila and highlight the complexity of γ-TuRC recruitment in a multicellular animal.

To read the full publication, please click here.