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Dev Dyn. 2004 Jan;229(1):162-75.

Signal integration during development: insights from the Drosophila eye.

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Whitehead Institute and Department of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA.


The Drosophila eye is a highly ordered epithelial tissue composed of approximately 750 subunits called ommatidia arranged in a reiterated hexagonal pattern. At higher resolution, observation of the constituent photoreceptors, cone cells, and pigment cells of the eye reveals a highly ordered mosaic of amazing regularity. This relatively simple organization belies the repeated requirement for spatially and temporally coordinated inputs from the Hedgehog (Hh), Wingless (Wg), Decapentaplegic (Dpp), JAK-STAT, Notch, and receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) signaling pathways. This review will discuss how signaling inputs from the Notch and RTK pathways, superimposed on the developmental history of a cell, facilitate context-specific and appropriate cell fate specification decisions in the developing fly eye. Lessons learned from investigating the combinatorial signal integration strategies underlying Drosophila eye development will likely reveal cell-cell communication paradigms relevant to many aspects of invertebrate and mammalian development. Developmental Dynamics 229:162-175, 2004.

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