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Development. 2007 Mar;134(5):825-31. Epub 2007 Jan 24.

Combinatorial signaling in the specification of primary pigment cells in the Drosophila eye.

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Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, Department of Biological Chemistry, Molecular Biology Institute, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


In the developing eye of Drosophila, the EGFR and Notch pathways integrate in a sequential, followed by a combinatorial, manner in the specification of cone-cell fate. Here, we demonstrate that the specification of primary pigment cells requires the reiterative use of the sequential integration between the EGFR and Notch pathways to regulate the spatiotemporal expression of Delta in pupal cone cells. The Notch signal from the cone cells then functions in the direct specification of primary pigment-cell fate. EGFR requirement in this process occurs indirectly through the regulation of Delta expression. Combined with previous work, these data show that unique combinations of only two pathways--Notch and EGFR--can specify at least five different cell types within the Drosophila eye.

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