Evidence for Notch-mediated lateral inhibition in organizing butterfly wing scales
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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.
KeywordsHeliconius Bristle Achaete-scute Evolution Development
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.
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