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Development. 2003 Aug;130(15):3557-65.

Macrophage-mediated corpse engulfment is required for normal Drosophila CNS morphogenesis.

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Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 77 Massachusetts Avenue 68-230B, Cambridge, MA 02139, USA.


Cell death plays an essential role in development, and the removal of cell corpses presents an important challenge for the developing organism. Macrophages are largely responsible for the clearance of cell corpses in Drosophila melanogaster and mammalian systems. We have examined the developmental requirement for macrophages in Drosophila and find that macrophage function is essential for central nervous system (CNS) morphogenesis. We generate and analyze mutations in the Pvr locus, which encodes a receptor tyrosine kinase of the PDGF/VEGF family that is required for hemocyte migration. We find that loss of Pvr function causes the mispositioning of glia within the CNS and the disruption of the CNS axon scaffold. We further find that inhibition of hemocyte development or of Croquemort, a receptor required for macrophage-mediated corpse engulfment, causes similar CNS defects. These data indicate that macrophage-mediated clearance of cell corpses is required for proper morphogenesis of the Drosophila CNS.

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