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Dev Biol. 1987 Jan;119(1):137-42.

Distribution of S-phase cells during the regeneration of Drosophila imaginal wing discs.


We investigated the distribution of S-phase cells during regeneration of the imaginal wing disc of Drosophila melanogaster following excision of 30 degrees, 90 degrees, and 150 degrees sectors of tissue. The fragments were cultured in adult abdomens for 1-5 days, labeled in vitro with tritiated thymidine, serially sectioned, and subjected to autoradiography. There was negligible thymidine incorporation in unoperated controls and in the undamaged parts of the operated discs, indicating that DNA synthesis in undamaged tissue is terminated during the first day of the culture period. Almost all of the fragments from which tissue had been removed, as well as controls which were simply cut without the removal of any tissue, showed a cluster of labeled cells (blastema) even after only 1 day of culture. The blastemas in control discs were short-lived, with over 50% of these discs showing no blastema by the third day in culture. Blastemas in discs from which sectors were removed were more persistent; the time at which 50% of the fragments no longer showed a blastema was 4 days for the -30 degrees fragments, 5 days for the -90 degrees fragments, and greater than 5 days for the -150 degrees fragments. The average blastema size, measured as number of labeled cells, was directly related to the amount of tissue removed, and in most cases did not change significantly during the culture period. Both wound edges incorporated tritiated thymidine initially and the S-phase cells remained tightly clustered throughout regeneration; maximum blastema width varied from about 8 to 25 cell diameters. The results are consistent with the idea that regenerative cell proliferation is stimulated and maintained by positional information discontinuities, and terminated when these discontinuities are resolved by the addition of an appropriate number of new cells.

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