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Published February 15, 2012 | Published + Supplemental Material
Journal Article Open

Synchronous and symmetric migration of Drosophila caudal visceral mesoderm cells requires dual input by two FGF ligands


Caudal visceral mesoderm (CVM) cells migrate synchronously towards the anterior of the Drosophila embryo as two distinct groups located on each side of the body, in order to specify longitudinal muscles that ensheath the gut. Little is known about the molecular cues that guide cells along this path, the longest migration of embryogenesis, except that they closely associate with trunk visceral mesoderm (TVM). The expression of the fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) heartless and its ligands, pyramus (pyr) and thisbe (ths), within CVM and TVM cells, respectively, suggested FGF signaling may influence CVM cell guidance. In FGF mutants, CVM cells die before reaching the anterior region of the TVM. However, an earlier phenotype observed was that the two cell clusters lose direction and converge at the midline. Live in vivo imaging and tracking analyses identified that the movements of CVM cells were slower and no longer synchronous. Moreover, CVM cells were found to cross over from one group to the other, disrupting bilateral symmetry, whereas such mixing was never observed in wild-type embryos. Ectopic expression of either Pyr or Ths was sufficient to redirect CVM cell movement, but only when the endogenous source of these ligands was absent. Collectively, our results show that FGF signaling regulates directional movement of CVM cells and that native presentation of both FGF ligands together is most effective at attracting cells. This study also has general implications, as it suggests that the activity supported by two FGF ligands in concert differs from their activities in isolation.

Additional Information

© 2012 Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd. Accepted 30 November 2011. Published online before print January 4, 2012. We thank Leslie Dunipace, Alphan Altinok and Sarah Wadsworth for excellent technical assistance; Manfred Frasch and Mayra Garcia for helpful discussions; and Marianne Bronner and members of the Stathopoulos laboratory, especially Young Bae, for comments on the manuscript. In addition, we are grateful to Rolf Reuter for sharing fly strains, providing the schematic shown in Fig. 1 and supporting S.K.'s preliminary studies of CVM cell migration (parts of supplementary material Fig. S1 and Fig. S2). Funding This work was funded by a grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) [R01GM078542 to A.S.]. Deposited in PMC for release after 12 months. Competing interests statement: The authors declare no competing financial interests. Author contributions: S.K. and A.S. designed the experiments; S.K. conducted all the experiments except the manual tracking in Fig. 6, which was carried out by S.G.; S.K. and A.S. analyzed the data and wrote the manuscript.

Attached Files

Published - Kadam2012p17602Development.pdf

Supplemental Material - FigS1.jpg

Supplemental Material - FigS2.jpg

Supplemental Material - FigS3.jpg

Supplemental Material - FigS4.jpg

Supplemental Material - Movie1.mov

Supplemental Material - Movie2.mov

Supplemental Material - Movie3.mov

Supplemental Material - Movie4.mov

Supplemental Material - Movie5.mov


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