Date Published:2005 Mar 18
During animal development, epithelial cell fates are specified according to spatial position by extracellular signaling pathways. Among these, the transforming growth factor beta/bone morphogenetic protein (TGF-beta/BMP) pathways are evolutionarily conserved and play crucial roles in the development and homeostasis of a wide range of multicellular tissues. Here we show that in the developing Drosophila wing imaginal epithelium, cell clones deprived of the BMP-like ligand Decapentaplegic (DPP) do not die as previously thought but rather extrude from the cell layer as viable cysts exhibiting marked abnormalities in cell shape and cytoskeletal organization. We propose that in addition to assigning cell fates, a crucial developmental function of DPP/BMP signaling is the position-specific control of epithelial architecture.