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ISSN - 13892029, Current Genomics, 2008, vol. 9, p. 312-323

How drosophila melanogaster forms its mechanoreceptors

Furman D. P., Bukharina T. A.

A strictly determined number of external sensory organs, macrochaetes, acting as mechanoreceptors, are orderly located on drosophila head and body. Totally, they form the bristle pattern, which is a species-specific characteristic of drosophila. Each mechanoreceptor comprises four specialized cells derived from the single sensory organ precursor (SOP) cell. The conserved bristle pattern combined with a comparatively simple structure of each mechanosensory organ makes macrochaetes a convenient model for studying the formation spatial structures with a fixed number of elements at certain positions and the mechanism underlying cell differentiation. The macrochaete morphogenesis consists of three stages. At the first stage, the proneural clusters segregate from the massive of ectodermal cells of the wing imaginal disc. At the second stage, the SOP cell is determined and its position in the cluster is specified. At the third stage, the $OP cell undergoes two asymmetric divisions, and the daughter cells differentiate the components of mechanoreceptor: shaft, socket, bipolar neuron, and sheath. The critical factor determining the neural pathway of cell development is the content of proneural proteins, products of the achaete-scute (AS-C) gene complex reaching its maximum in the SOP cell. The experimenital data on the main genes and their products involved in the control of bristle pattern formation are systematized The roles of achaete-scute complex, EGFR and Notch signaling pathways, and selector genes in these processes are considered. An integral scheme describing the functioning of the system controlling macrochaete development in D. melanogaster is proposed based on analysis of literature data. © 2008 Bentham Science Publishers Ltd.