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Keywords:

  • Drosophila;
  • dorsal closure;
  • ACK;
  • Dpp;
  • zipper;
  • myosin

Abstract

Dorsal closure of the Drosophila embryo is an epithelial fusion in which the epidermal flanks migrate to close a hole in the epidermis occupied by the amnioserosa, a process driven in part by myosin-dependent cell shape change. Dpp signaling is required for the morphogenesis of both tissues, where it promotes transcription of myosin from the zipper (zip) gene. Drosophila has two members of the activated Cdc42-associated kinase (ACK) family: DACK and PR2. Overexpression of DACK in embryos deficient in Dpp signaling can restore zip expression and suppress dorsal closure defects, while reducing the levels of DACK and PR2 simultaneously using mutations or amnioserosa-specific knock down by RNAi results in loss of zip expression. ACK function in the amnioserosa may generate a signal cooperating with Dpp secreted from the epidermis in driving zip expression in these two tissues, ensuring that cell shape changes in dorsal closure occur in a coordinated manner. Developmental Dynamics 237:2936–2946, 2008. © 2008 Wiley-Liss, Inc.