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Curr Biol. 2004 Mar 9;14(5):381-5.

Novel functions for integrins in epithelial morphogenesis.

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Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute and Department of Anatomy, University of Cambridge, Tennis Court Road, Cambridge CB2 1QR, United Kingdom.


Dorsal closure during Drosophila embryogenesis provides a valuable model for epithelial morphogenesis and wound healing. Previous studies have focused on two cell populations, the dorsal epidermis and the extraembryonic amnioserosa. Here, we demonstrate that there is an additional player, the large yolk cell. We find that integrins are expressed in the amnioserosa and yolk cell membrane and that they are required for three processes: (1) assembly of an intervening extracellular matrix, (2) attachment between these two cell layers, and (3) contraction of the amnioserosa cells. We also provide evidence for integrin-extracellular matrix interactions occurring between the lateral surfaces of the amnioserosa cell and the leading edge epidermis that effectively mediate cell-cell adhesion. Thus, dorsal closure shares mechanistic similarities with vertebrate epithelial morphogenetic events, including epiboly, that also employ an underlying substrate.

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