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Gene Expr Patterns. 2009 Jan;9(1):31-6. doi: 10.1016/j.gep.2008.09.001. Epub 2008 Sep 11.

Expression patterns of cadherin genes in Drosophila oogenesis.

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Lewis Sigler Institute, Department of Chemical Engineering, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ 08544, USA.


In Drosophila oogenesis, the follicular epithelium that envelops the oocyte is patterned by a small set of inductive signals and gives rise to an elaborate three-dimensional eggshell. Several eggshell structures provide sensitive readouts of the patterning signals, but the formation of these structures is still poorly understood. In other systems, epithelial morphogenesis is guided by the spatial patterning of cell adhesion and cytoskeleton genes. As a step towards developing a comprehensive description of patterning events leading to eggshell morphogenesis, we report the expression of Drosophila cadherins, calcium-dependent adhesion molecules that are repeatedly used throughout development. We found that 9/17 of Drosophila cadherins are expressed in the follicular epithelium in dynamic patterns during oogenesis. In late oogenesis, the expression patterns of cadherin genes in the main body follicle cells is summarized using a compact set of simple geometric shapes, reflecting the integration of the EGFR and DPP inductive signals. The multi-layered composite patterning of the cadherins is hypothesized to play a key role in the formation of the eggshell. Of particular note is the complex patterning of the region of the follicular epithelium that gives rise to the dorsal appendages, which are tubular structures that serve as respiratory organs for the developing embryo.

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