Insects share the same signaling pathway to form their 3-dimensional body

October 21, 2019

A signalling pathway controlling morphogenesis, the formation of the three-dimensional body shape in the fruit fly Drosophila, also has pivotal functions for early embryonic development in other insects like beetles, crickets and bugs. In these insects, the pathway is even required for the formation of the primary cell layer of the embryo. The discovery of this early function in phylogenetically distant insects suggests that the Fog (folded gastrulation) pathway fulfils a central developmental function in all insects and thus belongs to the archetypical repertoire of insect embryo formation. This is the outcome of a study Professor Siegfried Roth and his team conducted at the Institute of Zoology of the University of Cologne entitled 'Fog signaling has diverse roles in epithelial morphogenesis in insects', which has been published in the journal eLife.

For their discovery of developmental genes in Drosophila, Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, Eric Wieschaus and Edward B. Lewis were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1995. Some of these developmental genes have been conserved in the entire animal kingdom - from flies to humans. Others are specific to the fast mode of development of Drosophila embryos. So far, scientists believed the Fog pathway to be such a Drosophila-specific component.

The group of the Cologne-based zoologist Roth has now shown that Fog is not exclusive to Drosophila embryos. With the help of molecular methods and life imaging, the team showed that the pathway also has functions not known from Drosophila. In beetle embryos, it contributes to the migration of germ cells, the formation of extraembryonic membranes (serosa and amnion) and the formation of the first epithelial layer of the embryo. Since the latter function has also been observed in species from phylogenetically older insect lineages (bugs and crickets), it may well represent the ancestral function of the pathway.

'Our findings contribute to a better understanding of where the characteristics of Drosophila development described in all biology textbooks come from and how these developmental processes have evolved. The comparisons with other insects show that the pathway has lost functions in the evolutionary lineage leading to Drosophila,' says Professor Roth. 'The Fog pathway is likely to have a very old role during early morphogenesis in insects and may have acquired multiple functions during the formation and folding of cell layers.'
-end-
This study was initiated in the frame of Collaborative Research Centre 680 'The Molecular Basis of Evolutionary Innovations,' which was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and ran from 2006 to 2017 at the University of Cologne.

University of Cologne

Related Drosophila Articles from Brightsurf:

Novel Drosophila-based disease model to study human intellectual disability syndrome
The researchers from the TalTech molecular neurobiology laboratory headed by professor T├Ánis Timmusk used the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster to develop a novel disease model for Pitt-Hopkins syndrome (PTHS).

A changing mating signal may initiate speciation in populations of Drosophila mojavensis
When choosing a mate, females of different subspecies of Drosophila mojavensis recognize the right mating partners either mainly by their song or by their smell.

Foraging Drosophila flies are open for new microbial partners
Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology found that vinegar flies do not necessarily prefer yeasts from their natural environments, but were also attracted by yeasts found in a foreign habitat.

Taking a break helps drosophila germline cells reach their destination
Quiescence, or breaks during cell cycling, are common during germ cell development in many animals but the mechanisms regulating these periods are unclear.

Insects share the same signaling pathway to form their 3-dimensional body
Zoologist shows that beetles, bugs and crickets control their body shape through Fog signalling / publication in 'eLife'.

Geneticists unlock the secret of mutant flies' longevity
Russian researchers determined which genes are affected by mutation that extends lifespan of fruit flies.

Using fruit flies to identify new treatment for a colorectal cancer patient
Erdem Bangi and colleagues demonstrate a new approach to developing personalized therapy for a patient with treatment-resistant colorectal cancer: using a fruit fly genetically modified with a patient's own cancer mutations to test candidate treatments.

No super-Drosophila: Vinegar fly species have a good vision or olfaction, but not both
A team of scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology has systematically studied and compared the eyes and antennae and the associated brain structures of more than 60 species of the genus Drosophila.

Algorithms to locate centrioles in the cell
Investigators from the UEx have developed a methodology with new algorithms to analyse the location of the centriole in a model cell.

A study using Drosophila sheds light on the metastatic behavior of human tumors
A study at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) using Drosophila melanogaster has demonstrated that chromosomal instability itself can induce invasive behavior in epithelial cells and has identified the underlying molecular mechanisms involved.

Read More: Drosophila News and Drosophila Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.