Vestigial-dependent induction contributes to robust patterning but is not essential for wing-fate recruitment in Drosophila
pubmed: wnt1 2023-09-23
Biol Open. 2023 May 15;12(5):bio059908. doi: 10.1242/bio.059908. Epub 2023 May 18.
Cell recruitment is a process by which a differentiated cell induces neighboring cells to adopt its same cell fate. In Drosophila, cells expressing the protein encoded by the wing selector gene, vestigial (vg), drive a feed-forward recruitment signal that expands the Vg pattern as a wave front. However, previous studies on Vg pattern formation do not reveal these dynamics. Here, we use live imaging to show that multiple cells at the periphery of the wing disc simultaneously activate a fluorescent reporter of the recruitment signal, suggesting that cells may be recruited without the need for their contact neighbors be recruited in advance. In support of this observation, when Vg expression is inhibited either at the dorsal-ventral boundary or away from it, the activation of the recruitment signal still occurs at a distance, suggesting that Vg expression is not absolutely required to send or propagate the recruitment signal. However, the strength and extent of the recruitment signal is clearly compromised. We conclude that a feed-forward, contact-dependent cell recruitment process is not essential for Vg patterning, but it is necessary for robustness. Overall, our findings reveal a previously unidentified role of cell recruitment as a robustness-conferring cell differentiation mechanism.