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PLoS One. 2015 Jun 8;10(6):e0128490. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0128490. eCollection 2015.

The Cell Adhesion Molecules Roughest, Hibris, Kin of Irre and Sticks and Stones Are Required for Long Range Spacing of the Drosophila Wing Disc Sensory Sensilla.

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Department of Neurobiology, Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, Schänzlestr. 1, D-79104, Freiburg, Germany.


Most animal tissues and organ systems are comprised of highly ordered arrays of varying cell types. The development of external sensory organs requires complex cell-cell communication in order to give each cell a specific identity and to ensure a regular distributed pattern of the sensory bristles. This involves both long and short range signaling mediated by either diffusible or cell anchored factors. In a variety of processes the heterophilic Irre Cell Recognition Module, consisting of the Neph-like proteins: Roughest, Kin of irre and of the Nephrin-like proteins: Sticks and Stones, Hibris, plays key roles in the recognition events of different cell types throughout development. In the present study these proteins are apically expressed in the adhesive belt of epithelial cells participating in sense organ development in a partially exclusive and asymmetric manner. Using mutant analysis the GAL4/UAS system, RNAi and gain of function we found an involvement of all four Irre Cell Recognition Module-proteins in the development of a highly structured array of sensory organs in the wing disc. The proteins secure the regular spacing of sensory organs showing partial redundancy and may function in early lateral inhibition events as well as in cell sorting processes. Comparisons with other systems suggest that the Irre Cell Recognition module is a key organizer of highly repetitive structures.

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