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Mech Dev. 1996 Aug;58(1-2):3-14.

Control of gut development by fork head and cell signaling molecules in Drosophila.

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Max-Planck-Institut für Biophysikalische Chemie, Abteilung Molekulare Entwicklungsbiologie, Göttingen, Germany.


The alimentary canal of most animals can be subdivided into a fore- mid- and hindgut portion, each gut part possessing distinct physiological functions. The genetic basis underlying the formation of the different gut parts is poorly understood. Here we show that the Drosophila genes hedgehog, wingless and decapentaplegic, which encode cell signaling molecules, are required for the establishment of signaling centers that coordinate morphogenesis in the hindgut epithelium. The activation of these genes in the developing as well as in the foregut requires fork head, which encodes a transcription factor. Furthermore, we demonstrate that hedgehog and wingless activities in the gut epithelial cells are required for the expression of the homeobox gene bagpipe in the ensheathing visceral mesoderm. These results provide strong evidence that similar principles underlie Drosophila fore- and hindgut development, and that the genetic hierarchy of gut development might be conserved between Drosophila and vertebrates.

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