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Cell. 2005 Feb 11;120(3):383-93.

A transient cell cycle shift in Drosophila imaginal disc cells precedes multipotency.

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Department of Biology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.


When Drosophila imaginal discs regenerate, specific groups of cells can switch disc identity so that, for example, cells determined for leg identity switch to wing. Such switches in cell determination are known as transdetermination. We have developed a system by which individual cells are marked and monitored in vivo as they transdetermine so that their proliferation, cell sizes, and differentiation are accurately traced. Here, we document that when cells transdetermine, they do not convert to a younger cell cycle. Instead, cell cycle changes precede transdetermination and are different from those observed at any time in normal development. We propose that it is not a younger but a unique cell cycle progression and a big cell size that conditions the cells for developmental plasticity.

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