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Dev Cell. 2001 Dec;1(6):829-39.

Myoblast diversification and ectodermal signaling in Drosophila.

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Centre for Developmental Genetics, Department of Biomedical Science, Western Bank, University of Sheffield Sheffield S10 2TN, United Kingdom.


The flight muscles of Drosophila derive from myoblasts found on the third instar disc. We demonstrate that these myoblasts already show distinctive properties and examine how this diversity is generated. In the late larva, Vestigial and low levels of Cut are expressed in myoblasts that will contribute to the indirect flight muscles. Other myoblasts, which express high levels of Cut but no Vestigial, are required for the formation of the direct flight muscles. Vestigial and Cut expression are stabilized by a mutually repressive feedback loop. Vestigial expression begins in the embryo in a subset of adult myoblasts, and Wingless signaling is required later to maintain this expression. Thus, myoblasts are divided into identifiable populations, consistent with their allocation to different muscles, and ectodermal signals act to maintain these differences.

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