Identifying Genetic Players in Cell Sheet Morphogenesis Using a Drosophila Deficiency Screen for Genes on Chromosome 2R Involved in Dorsal Closure.
Cell sheet morphogenesis characterizes key developmental transitions and homeostasis, in vertebrates and throughout phylogeny, including gastrulation, neural tube formation and wound healing. Dorsal closure, a process during Drosophila embryogenesis, has emerged as a model for cell sheet morphogenesis. ∼140 genes are currently known to affect dorsal closure and new genes are identified each year. Many of these genes were identified in screens that resulted in arrested development. Dorsal closure is remarkably robust and many questions regarding the molecular mechanisms involved in this complex biological process remain. Thus, it is important to identify all genes that contribute to the kinematics and dynamics of closure. Here, we used a set of large deletions (deficiencies), which collectively remove 98.5% of the genes on the right arm of Drosophila melanogaster's 2nd chromosome to identify "dorsal closure deficiencies". Through two crosses, we unambiguously identified embryos homozygous for each deficiency and time-lapse imaged them for the duration of closure. Images were analyzed for defects in cell shapes and tissue movements. Embryos homozygous for 47 deficiencies have notable, diverse defects in closure, demonstrating that a number of discrete processes comprise closure and are susceptible to mutational disruption. Further analysis of these deficiencies will lead to the identification of at least 30 novel "dorsal closure genes". We expect that many of these novel genes will identify links to pathways and structures already known to coordinate various aspects of closure. We also expect to identify new processes and pathways that contribute to closure.
Mortensen, RD; Moore, RP; Fogerson, SM; Chiou, HY; Obinero, CV; Prabhu, NK; Wei, AH; Crawford, JM; Kiehart, DP
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