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G3 (Bethesda). 2012 Mar;2(3):371-8. doi: 10.1534/g3.111.001677. Epub 2012 Mar 1.

A screen for round egg mutants in Drosophila identifies tricornered, furry, and misshapen as regulators of egg chamber elongation.


The elongation of tissues and organs during embryonic development results from the coordinate polarization of cell behaviors with respect to the elongation axis. Within the Drosophila melanogaster ovary, initially spherical egg chambers lengthen dramatically as they develop to create the elliptical shape of the mature egg. This morphogenesis depends on an unusual form of planar polarity within the egg chamber's outer epithelial cell layer known as the follicle cells. Disruption of follicle cell planar polarity leads to the production of round rather than elongated eggs; however, the molecular mechanisms that control this tissue organization are poorly understood. Starting from a broadly based forward genetic screen, we have isolated 12 new round egg complementation groups, and have identified four of the mutated genes. In mapping the largest complementation group to the fat2 locus, we unexpectedly discovered a high incidence of cryptic fat2 mutations in the backgrounds of publicly available stocks. Three other complementation groups correspond to the genes encoding the cytoplasmic signaling proteins Tricornered (Trc), Furry (Fry), and Misshapen (Msn). Trc and Fry are known members of an NDR kinase signaling pathway, and as a Ste20-like kinase, Msn may function upstream of Trc. We show that all three proteins are required for follicle cell planar polarity at early stages of egg chamber elongation and that Trc shows a planar polarized distribution at the basal follicle cell surface. These results indicate that this new mutant collection is likely to provide novel insight into the molecular mechanisms controlling follicle cell planar polarity and egg chamber elongation.

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