Frazzled/DCC facilitates cardiac cell outgrowth and attachment during Drosophila dorsal vessel formation
ABSTRACT Drosophila embryonic dorsal vessel (DV) morphogenesis is a highly stereotyped process that involves the migration and morphogenesis of 52 pairs of cardioblasts (CBs) in order to form a linear tube. This process requires spatiotemporally-regulated localization of signaling and adhesive proteins in order to coordinate the formation of a central lumen while maintaining simultaneous adhesion between CBs. Previous studies have shown that the Slit/Roundabout and Netrin/Unc5 repulsive signaling pathways facilitate site-specific loss of adhesion between contralateral CBs in order to form a luminal space. However, the concomitant mechanism by which attraction initiates CB outgrowth and discrete localization of adhesive proteins remains poorly understood. Here we provide genetic evidence that Netrin signals through DCC (Deleted in Colorectal Carcinoma)/UNC-40/Frazzled (Fra) to mediate CB outgrowth and attachment and that this function occurs prior to and independently of Netrin/UNC-5 signaling. fra mRNA is expressed in the CBs prior to and during DV morphogenesis. Loss-of-fra-function results in significant defects in cell shape and alignment between contralateral CB rows. In addition, CB outgrowth and attachment is impaired in both fra loss- and gain-of-function mutants. Deletion of both Netrin genes (NetA and NetB) results in CB attachment phenotypes similar to fra mutants. Similar defects are also seen when both fra and unc5 are deleted. Finally we show that Fra accumulates at dorsal and ventral leading edges of paired CBs, and this localization is dependent upon Netrin. We propose that while repulsive guidance mechanisms contribute to lumen formation by preventing luminal domains from coming together, site-specific Netrin/Frazzled signaling mediates CB attachment.
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ABSTRACT: The embryonic heart tube is formed by the migration and subsequent midline convergence of two bilateral heart fields. In Drosophila the heart fields are organized into two rows of cardioblasts (CBs). While morphogenesis of the dorsal ectoderm, which lies directly above the Drosophila dorsal vessel (DV), has been extensively characterized, the migration and concomitant fundamental factors facilitating DV formation remain poorly understood. Here we provide evidence that DV closure occurs at multiple independent points along the A-P axis of the embryo in a "buttoning" pattern, divergent from the zippering mechanism observed in the overlying epidermis during dorsal closure. Moreover, we demonstrate that a genetically distinct subset of CBs is programmed to make initial contact with the opposing row. To elucidate the cellular mechanisms underlying this process, we examined the role of Rho GTPases during cardiac migration using inhibitory and overexpression approaches. We found that Cdc42 shows striking cell-type specificity during DV formation. Disruption of Cdc42 function specifically prevents CBs that express the homeobox gene tinman from completing their dorsal migration, resulting in a failure to make connections with their partnering CBs. Conversely, neighboring CBs that express the orphan nuclear receptor, seven-up, are not sensitive to Cdc42 inhibition. Furthermore, this phenotype was specific to Cdc42 and was not observed upon perturbation of Rac or Rho function. Together with the observation that DV closure occurs through the initial contralateral pairing of tinman-expressing CBs, our studies suggest that the distinct buttoning mechanism we propose for DV closure is elaborated through signaling pathways regulating Cdc42 activity in this cell type.Developmental Biology 06/2014; 392(2). DOI:10.1016/j.ydbio.2014.05.024 · 3.64 Impact Factor
03/2015; 2(1):2-16. DOI:10.3390/jcdd2010002
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ABSTRACT: In recent years the Drosophila heart has become an established model of many different aspects of human cardiac disease. This model has allowed identification of disease-causing mechanisms underlying congenital heart disease and cardiomyopathies and has permitted the study underlying genetic, metabolic and age-related contributions to heart function. In this review we discuss methods currently employed in the analysis of the Drosophila heart structure and function, such as optical methods to infer heart function and performance, electrophysiological and mechanical approaches to characterize cardiac tissue properties, and conclude with histological techniques used in the study of heart development and adult structure.Methods 04/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.ymeth.2014.03.031 · 3.22 Impact Factor