Spatial discontinuity of optomotor-blind expression in the Drosophila wing imaginal disc disrupts epithelial architecture and promotes cell sorting

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch articleContributedpeer-review


  • Jie Shen - , China Agricultural University (First author)
  • Christian Dahmann - , Chair of Systems Biology and Genetics, Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics (Author)
  • Gert O Pflugfelder - , Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (Author)


Background: Decapentaplegic (Dpp) is one of the best characterized morphogens, required for dorso-ventral patterning of the Drosophila embryo and for anterior-posterior (A/P) patterning of the wing imaginal disc. In the larval wing pouch, the Dpp target gene optomotor-blind (omb) is generally assumed to be expressed in a step function above a certain threshold of Dpp signaling activity.
Results: We show that the transcription factor Omb forms, in fact, a symmetrical gradient on both sides of the A/P compartment boundary. Disruptions of the Omb gradient lead to a re-organization of the epithelial cytoskeleton and to a retraction of cells toward the basal membrane suggesting that the Omb gradient is required for correct epithelial morphology. Moreover, by analysing the shape of omb gain- and loss-of-function clones, we find that Omb promotes cell sorting along the A/P axis in a concentration-dependent manner.
Conclusions: Our findings show that Omb distribution in the wing imaginal disc is described by a gradient rather than a step function. Graded Omb expression is necessary for normal cell morphogenesis and cell affinity and sharp spatial discontinuities must be avoided to allow normal wing development.


Original languageEnglish
JournalBMC Developmental Biology
Issue number23
Publication statusPublished - 23 Feb 2010

External IDs

Scopus 77649281569


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