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Dev Biol. 2004 Nov 15;275(2):301-14.

Transient apical polarization of Gliotactin and Coracle is required for parallel alignment of wing hairs in Drosophila.

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Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z4.


In Drosophila, wing hairs are aligned in a distally oriented, parallel array. The frizzled pathway determines proximal-distal cell polarity in the wing; however, in frizzled pathway mutants, wing hairs remain parallel. How wing hairs align has not been determined. We have demonstrated a novel role for the septate junction proteins Gliotactin (Gli) and Coracle (Cora) in this process. Prior to prehair extension, Gli and Cora were restricted to basolateral membranes. During pupal prehair development, Gli and Cora transiently formed apical ribbons oriented from the distal wing tip to the proximal hinge. These ribbons were aligned beneath prehair bases and persisted for several hours. During this time, Gli was lost entirely from the basolateral domain. A Gliotactin mutation altered the apical polarization Gli and Cora and induced defects in hair alignment in pupal and adult stages. Genetic and cell biological assays demonstrated that Gli and Cora function to align hairs independently of frizzled. Taken together, our results indicate that Gli and Cora function as the first-identified members of a long-predicted, frizzled-independent parallel alignment mechanism. We propose a model whereby the apical polarization of Gli and Cora functions to stabilize and align prehairs relative to anterior-posterior cell boundaries during pupal wing development.

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