Multiple roles of the Dcdc42 GTPase during wing development in Drosophila melanogaster
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The Rho sub-family of GTPases, comprising Rho, Rac and Cdc42, regulates many biological processes, including morphogenesis, cell polarity, migration, the cell cycle and gene expression. It is important to develop genetic approaches to allow the dissection, in vivo, of the mechanisms of GTPase regulation and signal transmission, and their biological consequences. In this regard, wing development in Drosophila melanogaster is an excellent model system. To investigate the functions of the Drosophila Cdc42 GTPase (Dcdc42), we generated phenotypes during wing development, by expression of the dominant-negative N17 and L89 mutants of Dcdc42. We have identified roles for Dcdc42 in wing growth, and in cell fate choice during the development of the wing veins and the peripheral nervous system. Reduction of Dcdc42 signalling following over-expression of Dcdc42N17 resulted in a broader but more diffuse domain characterised by wing-margin sensory bristles. This was correlated with a broadened stripe of wingless expression along the dorsal-ventral boundary of third-instar wing imaginal discs. Together with genetic interactions with loss- and gain-of-function Notch alleles, these data support a role for wild-type Dcdc42 as a negative regulator of Notch signalling.
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