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Dev Dyn. 2011 Jul;240(7):1745-55. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.22674.

Abelson tyrosine kinase is required for Drosophila photoreceptor morphogenesis and retinal epithelial patterning.

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Ben May Department for Cancer Research, The University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA.


Coordinated differentiation and morphogenesis transform the Drosophila retina from a layer of epithelial cells into a complex three-dimensional organ. In this study we show that the Abelson (Abl) tyrosine kinase localizes to the dynamically remodeling apical-junctional membrane domains of the developing photoreceptor cells. Analyses of abl mutant clone phenotypes demonstrate that abl is required for enriched localization of adherens junction and apical polarity complex proteins at photoreceptor-photoreceptor cell junctions and apical membrane domains, respectively, for rhabdomere generation and for spatial organization of ommatidial cells along the apical-basal axis of the epithelium. Loss of abl does not alter expression or localization of Enabled (Ena) nor does heterozygosity for ena dominantly suppress the abl phenotypes, suggesting the downstream effector mechanisms used by Abl in the eye may differ from those used in the embryo. Together our results reveal a prominent role for Abl in coordinating multiple aspects of photoreceptor morphogenesis.

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