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Cajal bodies (CBs) are nuclear organelles that are usually identified by the marker protein p80-coilin. Because no orthologue of coilin is known in Drosophila melanogaster, we identified D. melanogaster CBs using probes for other components that are relatively diagnostic for CBs in vertebrate cells. U85 small CB-specific RNA, U2 small nuclear RNA, the survival of motor neurons protein, and fibrillarin occur together in a nuclear body that is closely associated with the nucleolus. Based on its similarity to CBs in other organisms, we refer to this structure as the D. melanogaster CB. Surprisingly, the D. melanogaster U7 small nuclear RNP resides in a separate nuclear body, which we call the histone locus body (HLB). The HLB is invariably colocalized with the histone gene locus. Thus, canonical CB components are distributed into at least two nuclear bodies in D. melanogaster. The identification of these nuclear bodies now permits a broad range of questions to be asked about CB structure and function in a genetically tractable organism.

Original publication




Journal article


J Cell Biol

Publication Date





875 - 884


Animals, Animals, Genetically Modified, Cell Nucleus, Coiled Bodies, Drosophila melanogaster, Embryo, Nonmammalian, Evolution, Molecular, Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental, Histones, Larva, Multigene Family, Protein Biosynthesis, RNA, Messenger, Ribonucleoprotein, U7 Small Nuclear, Ribonucleoproteins, Small Nuclear, Species Specificity