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Dev Cell. 2003 Mar;4(3):359-69.

Cell cycle withdrawal, progression, and cell survival regulation by EGFR and its effectors in the differentiating Drosophila eye.

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Department of Molecular Genetics, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, 1300 Morris Park Avenue, Bronx, NY 10461, USA.


Receptor tyrosine kinases such as the EGF receptor transduce extracellular signals into multiple cellular responses. In the developing Drosophila eye, EGFR activity triggers cell differentiation. Here we focus on three additional cell autonomous aspects of EGFR function and their coordination with differentiation, namely, withdrawal from the cell cycle, mitosis, and cell survival. We find that, whereas differentiation requires intense signaling, dependent on multiple reinforcing ligands, lesser EGFR activity maintains cell cycle arrest, promotes mitosis, and protects against cell death. Each response requires the same Ras, Raf, MAPK, and Pnt signal transduction pathway. Mitotic and survival responses also involve Pnt-independent branches, perhaps explaining how survival and mitosis can occur independently. Our results suggest that, rather than triggering all or none responses, EGFR coordinates partially independent processes as the eye differentiates.

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