Master of the Subdomain

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Science  08 Sep 2000:
Vol. 289, Issue 5485, pp. 1653
DOI: 10.1126/science.289.5485.1653a

The body of the fruit fly Drosophila can be viewed as a series of compartments. First described over 25 years ago, compartments are spatially discrete groups of cells, typically derived from the same cell lineage, that do not functionally intermingle with cells in neighboring compartments. Compartments and the boundaries that separate them play a critical role in pattern formation during development.

Compartments can be further subdivided, and a new example of this is provided by Calleja et al., who find that the dorsal region of each segment in the thorax and abdomen consists of two subdomains, a medial (MED) subdomain and a lateral (LAT) subdomain. This subdivision appears to be specified by the activity of the pannier gene (pnr) which encodes a GATA transcription factor and is expressed only in the MED subdomain. The LAT subdomain is characterized by expression of the homeobox gene iroquois (iro). The MED and LAT subdivision is distinctive in that it is specified by a mechanism not based on cell lineage, yet it appears to be a general feature of the Drosophila body plan, affecting the embryo, larva, and adult. — PAK

Development127, 3971 (2000).

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