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ISSN - 10623604, Russian Journal of Developmental Biology, 2011, vol. 42, p. 63-72

Asymmetric cell division in the morphogenesis of Drosophila melanogaster macrochaetae

Bukharina T. A., Furman D. P.

Asymmetric cell division (ACD) is the basic process which creates diversity in the cells of multi-cellular organisms. As a result of asymmetric cell division, daughter cells acquire the ability to differentiate and specialize in a given direction, which is different from that of their parent cells and from each other. This type of division is observed in a wide range of living organisms from bacteria to vertebrates. It has been shown that the molecular-genetic control mechanism of ACD is evolutionally conservative. The proteins involved in the process of ACD in different kinds of animals have a high degree of homology. Sensory organs-bristles (macrochaetae)-of Drosophila are widely used as a model system for studying the genetic control mechanisms of asymmetric division. Bristles located in an orderly manner on the head and body of the fly play the role of mechanoreceptors. Each of them consists of four specialized cells-offspring of the only sensory organ precursor cell (SOP), which differentiates from the wing imaginal disc at the larval stage of the late third age. The basic differentiation and further specialization of the daughter cells of SOP is an asymmetric division process. In this summary, experimental data on genes and their products controlling asymmetric division of SOP and daughter cells, and also the specialization of the latter, have been systemized. The basic mechanisms which determine the time cells enter into asymmetric mitosis and which provides the structural characteristics of the asymmetric division process-the polar distribution of protein determinants Numb and Neuralized-the orientation of the mitotic spindle in relation to these determinants, and the uneven segregation of the determinants into the daughter cells that determines the direction of their development have been discussed. © 2011 Pleiades Publishing, Ltd.