MACPF/CDC proteins in development: Insights from Drosophila torso-like

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The Membrane Attack Complex Perforin-like/Cholesterol-Dependent Cytolysin (MACPF) superfamily is an ancient and biologically diverse group of proteins that are best known for pore-forming roles in mammalian immunity and bacterial pathogenesis. Intriguingly, however, some eukaryotic proteins which contain the MACPF domain that defines this family do not act in attack or defence, and instead have distinct developmental functions. It remains unclear whether these proteins function via pore formation or have a different mechanism of action. Of these, by far the best characterised is Torso-like (Tsl), the only MACPF member that has been identified in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. While it has long been known to have a role in embryonic patterning, recent studies have shown that Tsl in fact has multiple roles in development. As such, it presents an excellent opportunity to investigate how the MACPF domain functions in a developmental context. Here, we review what is known about Tsl in Drosophila and other insects, and discuss the potential molecular mechanism by which Tsl and thus other developmental MACPF proteins may function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-170
Number of pages8
JournalSeminars in Cell and Developmental Biology
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2017


  • Development
  • Drosophila
  • Growth
  • Patterning
  • Torso-like

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