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Dev Biol. 2007 Sep 1;309(1):113-25. Epub 2007 Jul 6.

3D analysis of founder cell and fusion competent myoblast arrangements outlines a new model of myoblast fusion.

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Program in Developmental Biology, Sloan-Kettering Institute, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021, USA.


Formation of the Drosophila larval body wall muscles requires the specification, coordinated cellular behaviors and fusion of two cell types: Founder Cells (FCs) that control the identity of the individual muscle and Fusion Competent Myoblasts (FCMs) that provide mass. These two cell types come together to control the final size, shape and attachment of individual muscles. However, the spatial arrangement of these cells over time, the sequence of fusion events and the contribution of these cellular relationships to the fusion process have not been addressed. We analyzed the three-dimensional arrangements of FCs and FCMs over the course of myoblast fusion and assayed whether these issues impact the process of myoblast fusion. We examined the timing of the fusion process by analyzing the fusion profile of individual muscles in wild type and fusion mutants. We showed that there are two temporal phases of myoblast fusion in wild type embryos. Limited fusion events occur during the first 3 h of fusion, while the majority of fusion events occur in the remaining 2.5 h. Altogether, our data have led us to propose a new model of myoblast fusion where the frequency of myoblast fusion events may be influenced by the spatial arrangements of FCs and FCMs.

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