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94 Publications

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    Morphogenesis in the Drosophila retina initiates at the posterior margin of the eye imaginal disc by an unknown mechanism. Upon initiation, a wave of differentiation, its forward edge marked by the morphogenetic furrow (MF), proceeds anteriorly across the disc. Progression of the MF is driven by hedgehog (hh), expressed by differentiating photoreceptor cells. The TGF-beta homolog encoded by decapentaplegic (dpp) is expressed at the disc's posterior margin prior to initiation and in the furrow, under the control of hh, during MF progression. While dpp has been implicated in eye disc growth and morphogenesis, its precise role in retinal differentiation has not been determined. To address the role of dpp in initiation and progression of retinal differentiation we analyzed the consequences of reduced and increased dpp function during eye development. We find that dpp is not only required for normal MF initiation, but is sufficient to induce ectopic initiation of differentiation. Inappropriate initiation is normally inhibited by wingless (wg). Loss of dpp function is accompanied by expansion of wg expression, while increased dpp function leads to loss of wg transcription. In addition, dpp is required to maintain, and sufficient to induce, its own expression along the disc's margins. We postulate that dpp autoregulation and dpp-mediated inhibition of wg expression are required for the coordinated regulation of furrow initiation and progression. Finally, we show that in the later stages of retinal differentiation, reduction of dpp function leads to an arrest in MF progression.

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    12/01/95 | Role of the morphogenetic furrow in establishing polarity in the Drosophila eye.
    Chanut F, Heberlein U
    Development. 1995 Dec;121(12):4085-94

    The Drosophila retina is a crystalline array of 800 ommatidia whose organization and assembly suggest polarization of the retinal epithelium along anteroposterior and dorsoventral axes. The retina develops by a stepwise process following the posterior-to-anterior progression of the morphogenetic furrow across the eye disc. Ectopic expression of hedgehog or local removal of patched function generates ectopic furrows that can progress in any direction across the disc leaving in their wake differentiating fields of ectopic ommatidia. We have studied the effect of these ectopic furrows on the polarity of ommatidial assembly and rotation. We find that the anteroposterior asymmetry of ommatidial assembly parallels the progression of ectopic furrows, regardless of their direction. In addition, ommatidia developing behind ectopic furrows rotate coordinately, forming equators in various regions of the disc. Interestingly, the expression of a marker normally restricted to the equator is induced in ectopic ommatidial fields. Ectopic equators are stable as they persist to adulthood, where they can coexist with the normal equator. Our results suggest that ectopic furrows can impart polarity to the disc epithelium, regarding the direction of both assembly and rotation of ommatidia. We propose that these processes are polarized as a consequence of furrow propagation, while more global determinants of dorsoventral and anteroposterior polarity may act less directly by determining the site of furrow initiation.

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    06/30/95 | Mechanisms of Drosophila retinal morphogenesis: the virtues of being progressive.
    Heberlein U, Moses K
    Cell. 1995 Jun 30;81(7):987-90
    02/23/95 | Growth and differentiation in the Drosophila eye coordinated by hedgehog.
    Heberlein U, Singh CM, Luk AY, Donohoe TJ
    Nature. 1995 Feb 23;373(6516):709-11. doi: 10.1038/373709a0

    Differentiation of the Drosophila retina is asynchronous: it starts at the posterior margin of the eye imaginal disc and progresses anteriorly over two days. During this time the disc continues to grow, increasing in size by approximately eightfold. An indentation in the epithelium, the morphogenetic furrow, marks the front edge of the differentiation wave. Anterior progression of the furrow is thought to be driven by signals emanating from differentiating photoreceptor cells in the posterior eye disc. A good candidate for such a signal is the product of the hedgehog (hh) gene; it is expressed, and presumably secreted, by differentiating photoreceptors and its function is required for continued furrow movement. Here we show that ectopic expression of hedgehog sets in motion ectopic furrows in the anterior eye disc. In addition to changes in cell shape, these ectopic furrows are associated with a tightly orchestrated series of events, including proliferation, cell cycle synchronization and pattern formation, that parallel normal furrow progression. We propose that the morphogenetic furrow coincides with a transient boundary that coordinates growth and differentiation of the eye disc, and that hedgehog is necessary and sufficient to propagate this boundary across the epithelium.

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