Sex Comb Rotation in Drosophila melanogaster : Changes in Tissue Length and Cell Extrusion

Tahsin Khan, Larry Zhang, Juan Nicolas Malagon


The remodeling of epithelial tissues is an important process during development. One model of such morphogenesis is the process of sex comb arrangement and rotation in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Unlike the simpler homogeneous-sheet epithelial systems studied to date, this process involves the reorientation of sex combs, rows of leg bristles, by an approximately 90° rotation along epithelial cells during pupal development. Epithelial changes in length influence the resulting position of sex combs. This study investigated the connection between sex bristles and morphological response in epithelial tissue. Genetic perturbations were introduced to produce sex combs of varying lengths and subsequent effects on epithelial tissue was monitored across developmental stages. Our results indicate that tissue above sex combs always exhibits an increase in cell number between landmark bristles independent of sex comb length. However, spatial and temporal patterns of epithelial cell extrusion dramatically change based on changes in sex comb length. Our study provides key early findings that implicate sex comb rotation variations as a variable affecting the process of epithelial development in D.melanogaster.

Full Text:


© University of Toronto Journal of Undergraduate Life Sciences.