Here I present gene expression data that implicate a Notch-mediated lateral inhibition process in the spatial organization of butterfly wing scales. During early pupal development the receptor molecule Notch is expressed in a grid-like pattern in the wing epithelium, resulting in parallel rows of uniformly spaced cells with low Notch expression. Previous work has shown that these low-Notch cells express a homolog of the achaete-scute proneural transcription factors and develop into scales. All of these observations are consistent with the Drosophila model of Notch-mediated bristle determination and support the hypothesis that bristles and scales share an underlying patterning mechanism.
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I thank Lisa M. Nagy and the referees for comments on the manuscript, Sean B. Carroll for the Distal-less antibody, Developmental Studies Hybridoma Bank for the Notch antibody, and W. Owen McMillan for H. erato. This work was supported by National Science Foundation grant DEB 0209441.
Edited by M. Akam
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Reed, R.D. Evidence for Notch-mediated lateral inhibition in organizing butterfly wing scales. Dev Genes Evol 214, 43–46 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00427-003-0366-0