frizzled regulates mirror-symmetric pattern formation in the Drosophila eye

L. Zheng, J. Zhang, R. W. Carthew*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

209 Scopus citations


Coordinated morphogenesis of ommatidia during Drosophila eye development establishes a mirror-image symmetric pattern across the entire eye bisected by an anteroposterior equator. We have investigated the mechanisms by which this pattern formation occurs and our results suggest that morphogenesis is coordinated by a graded signal transmitted bidirectionally from the presumptive equator to the dorsal and ventral poles. This signal is mediated by frizzled, which encodes a cell surface transmembrane protein. Mosaic analysis indicates that frizzled acts non-autonomously in an equatorial to polar direction. It also indicates that relative levels of frizzled in photoreceptor cells R3 and R4 of each ommatidium affect their positional fate choices such that the cell with greater frizzled activity becomes an R3 cell and the cell with less frizzled activity becomes an R4 cell. Moreover, this bias affects the choice an ommatidium makes as to which direction to rotate. Equator-outwards progression of elav expression and expression of the nemo gene in the morphogenetic furrow are regulated by frizzled, which itself is dynamically expressed about the morphogenetic furrow. We propose that frizzled mediates a bidirectional signal emanating from the equator.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3045-3055
Number of pages11
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jan 1 1995


  • Drosophila
  • Photoreceptor
  • Polarity
  • Spiny legs
  • frizzled

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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