Ultrastructure of the hindgut of Drosophila larvae, with special reference to the domains identified by specific gene expression patterns

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Abstract

The hindgut of Drosophila larvae consists of nine domains that have been distinguished by specific gene expression patterns. In the present study, we examined the ultrastructure of the hindgut of Drosophila larvae, with special reference to the domains, in order to determine whether or not the domains are morphologically distinct functional units. Each domain showed specific ultrastructural features that suggested specific corresponding functions. According to the morphological features, terms are proposed for each domain: the imaginal ring; the “pylorus,” which has a thick cuticular layer and well-developed sphincter muscles; the “large intestine,” which occupies a major middle portion of the hindgut and has a unique dorsal and ventral subdivision; “border cells,” which delineate the anterior and posterior borders of the large intestine and the border between the dorsal and ventral domains of the large intestine; and the “rectum,” which is situated at the posterior end of the hindgut and has a thick cuticular layer and sphincter muscles. The morphological features indicate that the large intestine has active absorptive activities. The domains, which have been distinguished by gene expressions, were demonstrated to be functional tissue units of the gut. J. Morphol. 248:144–150, 2001. © 2001 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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