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Cell. 1999 May 28;97(5):599-607.

Cytonemes: cellular processes that project to the principal signaling center in Drosophila imaginal discs.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, University of California, San Francisco 94143, USA.


Wing imaginal disc cells in Drosophila develop by using information received from a signaling center associated with the anterior/posterior compartment border. We show here that disc cells have thin, actin-based extensions (cytonemes) that project to this signaling center. Cytonemes can be induced when cells from the lateral flanks of a wing disc are cultured next to cells from the A/P border or next to a source of fibroblast growth factor. Mouse limb bud cells also grow projections during a brief culture period, indicating that cytonemes are an attribute of both vertebrate and invertebrate cells. We suggest that cytonemes may be responsible for some forms of long-range cell-cell communication.

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