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BMC Dev Biol. 2002 May 3;2:7.

The frizzled pathway regulates the development of arista laterals.

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Biology Department and Cancer Center, Gilmer Hall, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903, USA.



The frizzled pathway in Drosophila has been studied intensively for its role in the development of planar polarity in wing hairs, thoracic bristles and ommatidia. Selected cells in the arista (the terminal segment of the antenna) elaborate a lateral projection that shares characteristics with both hairs and bristles.


We found that mutations in putative downstream members of the frizzled pathway, such as inturned resulted in multipled and split laterals, but no obvious polarity defects. Mutations in upstream genes such as frizzled did not show an adult arista phenotype. When we examined lateral development in the mutants we found that, as is the case on the wing for hair development the frizzled pathway regulated the subcellular location for lateral initiation. However, on the arista an altered location for lateral initiation did not result in altered polarity, as did an altered site for hair initiation. The regulation of lateral development involved the preferential accumulation of Frizzled protein at the distal edges of lateral cells much as is seen on the wing. In contrast to the situation in wing cells, in arista cells the location for lateral initiation was close to but did not overlap the region of preferential Frizzled accumulation.


Our data indicates that a modified version of the frizzled pathway regulates arista development. We conclude that the lack of a polarity defect in mutant aristae is likely to be a consequence of inherent differences in the cell biology of wing hair and lateral forming cells.

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