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Notch signaling coordinates ommatidial rotation in the Drosophila eye via transcriptional regulation of the EGF-Receptor ligand Argos.

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Housden, Benjamin E 
Gault, William J 


In all metazoans, a small number of evolutionarily conserved signaling pathways are reiteratively used during development to orchestrate critical patterning and morphogenetic processes. Among these, Notch (N) signaling is essential for most aspects of tissue patterning where it mediates the communication between adjacent cells to control cell fate specification. In Drosophila, Notch signaling is required for several features of eye development, including the R3/R4 cell fate choice and R7 specification. Here we show that hypomorphic alleles of Notch, belonging to the Nfacet class, reveal a novel phenotype: while photoreceptor specification in the mutant ommatidia is largely normal, defects are observed in ommatidial rotation (OR), a planar cell polarity (PCP)-mediated cell motility process. We demonstrate that during OR Notch signaling is specifically required in the R4 photoreceptor to upregulate the transcription of argos (aos), an inhibitory ligand to the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), to fine-tune the activity of EGFR signaling. Consistently, the loss-of-function defects of Nfacet alleles and EGFR-signaling pathway mutants are largely indistinguishable. A Notch-regulated aos enhancer confers R4 specific expression arguing that aos is directly regulated by Notch signaling in this context via Su(H)-Mam-dependent transcription.



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U.S. Department of Health & Human Services | NIH | National Eye Institute (NEI) (RO1 EY13256)