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Curr Biol. 2011 Feb 22;21(4):278-87. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2011.01.015. Epub 2011 Jan 27.

Apoptosis ensures spacing pattern formation of Drosophila sensory organs.

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1
Department of Genetics, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Tokyo, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-0033, Japan.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In both vertebrates and invertebrates, developing organs and tissues must be precisely patterned. One patterning mechanism is Notch/Delta-mediated lateral inhibition. Through the process of lateral inhibition, Drosophila sensory organ precursors (SOPs) are selected and sensory bristles form into a regular pattern. SOP cell fate is determined by high Delta expression and following expression of neurogenic genes like neuralized. SOP selection is spatially and temporally regulated; however, the dynamic process of precise pattern formation is not clearly understood.

RESULTS:

In this study, using live-imaging analysis, we show that the appearance of neuralized-positive cells is random in both timing and position. Excess neuralized-positive cells are produced by developmental errors at several steps preceding and accompanying lateral inhibition. About 20% of the neuralized-positive cells show aberrant cell characteristics and high Notch activation, which not only suppress neural differentiation but also induce caspase-dependent cell death. These cells never develop into sensory organs, nor do they disturb bristle patterning.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our study reveals the incidence of developmental errors that produce excess neuralized-positive cells during sensory organ development. Notch activation in neuralized-positive cells determines aberrant cell fate and typically induces caspase-dependent cell death. Apoptosis is utilized as a mechanism to remove cells that start neural differentiation at aberrant positions and timing and to ensure robust spacing pattern formation.

PMID:
21276725
DOI:
10.1016/j.cub.2011.01.015
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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