Deep orange and carnation are two of the classic eye color genes in Drosophila. Here, we demonstrate that Deep orange is part of a protein complex that localizes to endosomal compartments. A second component of this complex is Carnation, a homolog of Sec1p-like regulators of membrane fusion. Because complete loss of deep orange function is lethal, the role of this complex in intracellular trafficking was analyzed in deep orange mutant clones. Retinal cells devoid of deep orange function completely lacked pigmentation and exhibited exaggerated multivesicular structures. Furthermore, a defect in endocytic trafficking was visualized in developing photoreceptor cells. These results provide direct evidence that eye color mutations of the granule group also disrupt vesicular trafficking to lysosomes.
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