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Mech Dev. 2000 Jul;95(1-2):47-54.

The longitudinal visceral musculature of Drosophila melanogaster persists through metamorphosis.

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Institut für Allgemeine Zoologie und Genetik der Westfälischen Wilhelms-Universität, Schlossplatz 5, 48149, Münster, Germany.


The larval gut of Drosophila is coated with visceral muscles of mesodermal origin. In the midgut region this musculature comprises circular and longitudinal fibres. The complete visceral musculature is described to be removed during metamorphosis and to be replaced by a newly differentiated imaginal tissue resembling the morphology of the larval musculature. However, progenitors of this imaginal visceral musculature have never been detected prior to differentiation. Here I present results indicating that the longitudinal visceral musculature of the midgut completely persists through metamorphosis. Single cells expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) as a marker were transplanted at the blastoderm stage. All clones contributing to the longitudinal visceral musculature detected in third instar larvae were recovered after metamorphosis in adult flies. Further evidence for the persistence of the larval visceral musculature was obtained from the P[Gal4] insertion line 5053A. It expresses GAL4 specifically in the longitudinal visceral muscles of the midgut of all developmental stages to the adult fly beginning at the end of embryogenesis. By using GFP as a reporter, it was possible to follow these cells through the entire metamorphosis. Although the muscles undergo dramatic morphological changes including the loss of their contractile system, no evidence for a replacement of the larval visceral musculature by imaginal precursor cells was detected.

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