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Dev Biol. 2005 Nov 15;287(2):403-15. Epub 2005 Oct 13.

Delivery of wingless to the ventral mesoderm by the developing central nervous system ensures proper patterning of individual slouch-positive muscle progenitors.

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Program in Developmental Biology, Weill Graduate School of Medical Sciences at Cornell University and Sloan-Kettering Institute, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021, USA.


During the development of any organism, care must be given to properly pattern gene expression in temporally and spatially regulated manners. This process becomes more complex when the signals that regulate a target tissue are produced in an adjacent tissue and must travel to the target tissue to affect gene expression. We have used the developing somatic mesoderm in Drosophila as a system in which to examine this problem. Our investigation uncovered a novel mechanism by which Wingless (Wg) can travel from its source in the ectoderm to regulate the expression of the somatic muscle founder identity gene, slouch, in the ventral mesoderm. Delivery of Wg to the mesoderm by the developing Central Nervous System (CNS) exploits the stereotypic formation of this tissue to provide high Wg levels to Slouch founder cell cluster II in a temporally specific manner. Coordinated development of these tissues provides a reliable mechanism for delivering high Wg levels to a subset of mesodermal cells. It also provides a means for one signaling pathway to be used reiteratively throughout development to impart unique positional and character information within a target field.

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