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Biophys J. 2019 Feb 19;116(4):725-740. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2019.01.007. Epub 2019 Jan 11.

Decoding Calcium Signaling Dynamics during Drosophila Wing Disc Development.

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Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana.
Department of Computer Science and Engineering, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana.
Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana. Electronic address:


The robust specification of organ development depends on coordinated cell-cell communication. This process requires signal integration among multiple pathways, relying on second messengers such as calcium ions. Calcium signaling encodes a significant portion of the cellular state by regulating transcription factors, enzymes, and cytoskeletal proteins. However, the relationships between the inputs specifying cell and organ development, calcium signaling dynamics, and final organ morphology are poorly understood. Here, we have designed a quantitative image-analysis pipeline for decoding organ-level calcium signaling. With this pipeline, we extracted spatiotemporal features of calcium signaling dynamics during the development of the Drosophila larval wing disc, a genetic model for organogenesis. We identified specific classes of wing phenotypes that resulted from calcium signaling pathway perturbations, including defects in gross morphology, vein differentiation, and overall size. We found four qualitative classes of calcium signaling activity. These classes can be ordered based on agonist stimulation strength Gαq-mediated signaling. In vivo calcium signaling dynamics depend on both receptor tyrosine kinase/phospholipase C γ and G protein-coupled receptor/phospholipase C β activities. We found that spatially patterned calcium dynamics correlate with known differential growth rates between anterior and posterior compartments. Integrated calcium signaling activity decreases with increasing tissue size, and it responds to morphogenetic perturbations that impact organ growth. Together, these findings define how calcium signaling dynamics integrate upstream inputs to mediate multiple response outputs in developing epithelial organs.

[Available on 2020-02-19]

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