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Dev Biol. 2007 Aug 1;308(1):158-68. Epub 2007 May 24.

The secreted cell signal Folded Gastrulation regulates glial morphogenesis and axon guidance in Drosophila.

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Broad Center, Division of Biology, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA.


During gastrulation in Drosophila, ventral cells change shape, undergoing synchronous apical constriction, to create the ventral furrow (VF). This process is affected in mutant embryos lacking zygotic function of the folded gastrulation (fog) gene, which encodes a putative secreted protein. Fog is an essential autocrine signal that induces cytoskeletal changes in invaginating VF cells. Here we show that Fog is also required for nervous system development. Fog is expressed by longitudinal glia in the central nervous system (CNS), and reducing its expression in glia causes defects in process extension and axon ensheathment. Glial Fog overexpression produces a disorganized glial lattice. Fog has a distinct set of functions in CNS neurons. Our data show that reduction or overexpression of Fog in these neurons produces axon guidance phenotypes. Interestingly, these phenotypes closely resemble those seen in embryos with altered expression of the receptor tyrosine phosphatase PTP52F. We conducted epistasis experiments to define the genetic relationships between Fog and PTP52F, and the results suggest that PTP52F is a downstream component of the Fog signaling pathway in CNS neurons. We also found that Ptp52F mutants have early VF phenotypes like those seen in fog mutants.

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