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Mech Dev. 2003 Aug;120(8):897-907.

Species-specific activation of EGF receptor signaling underlies evolutionary diversity in the dorsal appendage number of the genus Drosophila eggshells.

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Department of Biological Science and Technology, Tokyo University of Science, 2641 Yamazaki, Noda, Chiba 278-8510, Japan.


In Drosophila melanogaster, the patterning of dorsal appendages on the eggshell is strictly controlled by EGFR signaling. However, the number of dorsal appendages is remarkably diverse among Drosophila species. For example, D. melanogaster and D. virilis have two and four dorsal appendages, respectively. Here we show that during oogenesis the expression patterns of rhomboid (rho) and argos (aos), positive and negative regulators of EGFR signaling, respectively, were substantially different between D. melanogaster and D. virilis. Importantly, the number and position of both the rho expression and MAPK activation were consistent with those of the dorsal appendages in each species. Despite the differences in the spatial expression, these results suggest that the function of EGFR signaling in dorsal appendage formation is largely conserved between these two species. Thus, our results link the species-specific activation of EGFR signaling and the evolution of eggshell morphology in Drosophila.

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