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Dev Growth Differ. 2005 Aug;47(6):383-92.

Functional specification in the Drosophila endoderm.

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Graduate School of Natural and Science Technology, Okayama University, 3-1-1 Tsushima-naka, Okayama 700-8530, Japan.


The discovery of homeobox gene clusters led us to realize that the mechanisms for body patterning and other developmental programs are evolutionally-conserved in vertebrates and invertebrates. The endoderm contributes to the lining of the gut and associated organs such as the liver and pancreas, which are critical for physiological functions. Our knowledge of endoderm development is limited; however, recent studies suggest that cooperation between the HNF3/Fork head and GATA transcription factors is crucial for endoderm specification. It is necessary to further understand the mechanism through which cells become functionally organized. Molecular genetic analyses of the Drosophila endoderm would provide insights into this issue. During proventriculus morphogenesis, a simple epithelial tube is folded into a functional multilayered structure, while two functions of midgut copper cells (i.e. copper absorption and acid secretion) can be easily visualized. The homeobox gene defective proventriculus (dve) plays key roles in these functional specifications.

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