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Development. 2012 Aug;139(15):2773-82. doi: 10.1242/dev.079384.

The Dorsocross T-box transcription factors promote tissue morphogenesis in the Drosophila wing imaginal disc.

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Department of Entomology, China Agricultural University, Beijing, China.


The Drosophila wing imaginal disc is subdivided into notum, hinge and blade territories during the third larval instar by formation of several deep apical folds. The molecular mechanisms of these subdivisions and the subsequent initiation of morphogenic processes during metamorphosis are poorly understood. Here, we demonstrate that the Dorsocross (Doc) T-box genes promote the progression of epithelial folds that not only separate the hinge and blade regions of the wing disc but also contribute to metamorphic development by changing cell shapes and bending the wing disc. We found that Doc expression was restricted by two inhibitors, Vestigial and Homothorax, leading to two narrow Doc stripes where the folds separating hinge and blade are forming. Doc mutant clones prevented the lateral extension and deepening of these folds at the larval stage and delayed wing disc bending in the early pupal stage. Ectopic Doc expression was sufficient to generate deep apical folds by causing a basolateral redistribution of the apical microtubule web and a shortening of cells. Cells of both the endogenous blade/hinge folds and of folds elicited by ectopic Doc expression expressed Matrix metalloproteinase 2 (Mmp2). In these folds, integrins and extracellular matrix proteins were depleted. Overexpression of Doc along the blade/hinge folds caused precocious wing disc bending, which could be suppressed by co-expressing MMP2RNAi.

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