Echinoid regulates tracheal morphology and fusion cell fate in Drosophila

Caroline Laplante, Sarah M. Paul, Greg J. Beitel, Laura A. Nilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Morphogenesis of the Drosophila embryonic trachea involves a stereotyped pattern of epithelial tube branching and fusion. Here, we report unexpected phenotypes resulting from maternal and zygotic (M/Z) loss of the homophilic cell adhesion molecule Echinoid (Ed), as well as the subcellular localization of Ed in the trachea. edM/Z embryos have convoluted trachea reminiscent of septate junction (SJ) and luminal matrix mutants. However, Ed does not localize to SJs, and edM/Z embryos have intact SJs and show normal luminal accumulation of the matrix-modifying protein Vermiform. Surprisingly, tracheal length is not increased in edM/Z mutants, but a previously undescribed combination of reduced intersegmental spacing and deep epidermal grooves produces a convoluted tracheal phenotype. In addition, edM/Z mutants have unique fusion defects involving supernumerary fusion cells, ectopic fusion events and atypical branch breaks. Tracheal-specific expression of Ed rescues these fusion defects, indicating that Ed acts in trachea to control fusion cell fate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2509-2519
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental Dynamics
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2010


  • Anastomosis
  • Branch fusion
  • Cellular junctions
  • Drosophila
  • Echinoid
  • Morphogenesis
  • Trachea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology


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