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Fly (Austin). 2014;8(1):13-8. doi: 10.4161/fly.27016. Epub 2013 Nov 8.

Bridging the divide: illuminating the path of intercellular exchange through ring canals.

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Department of Genetics; Yale School of Medicine; New Haven, CT USA.
Department of Genetics; Yale School of Medicine; New Haven, CT USA; Department of Cell Biology; Yale School of Medicine; New Haven, CT USA; Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology; Yale University; New Haven, CT USA.


Ring canals are made from arrested cleavage furrows, and provide direct cytoplasmic connections among sibling cells. They are well documented for their participation in Drosophila oogenesis, but little is known about their role in several somatic tissues in which they are also found. Using a variety of genetic tools in live and fixed tissue, we recently demonstrated that rapid intercellular exchange occurs through somatic ring canals by diffusion, and presented evidence that ring canals permit equilibration of protein among transcriptionally mosaic cells. We also used a novel combination of markers to evaluate the extent of protein movement within and across mitotic clones in follicle cells and imaginal discs, providing evidence of robust movement of GFP between the 2 sides of mitotic clones and frequently into non-recombined cells. These data suggest that, depending on the experimental setup and proteins of interest, inter-clonal diffusion of protein may alter the interpretation of clonal data in follicle cells. Here, we discuss these results and provide additional insight into the impact of ring canals in Drosophila somatic tissues.


Drosophila; egg chamber; follicle cells; imaginal discs; intercellular bridge; ring canal

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