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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Focal adhesion kinase controls morphogenesis of the Drosophila optic stalk.

Photoreceptor cell axons (R axons) innervate optic ganglia in the Drosophila brain through the tubular optic stalk. This structure consists of surface glia (SG) and forms independently of R axon projection. In a screen for genes involved in optic stalk formation, we identified Fak56D encoding a Drosophila homolog of mammalian focal adhesion kinase (FAK). FAK is a main component of the focal adhesion signaling that regulates various cellular events, including cell migration and morphology. We show that Fak56D mutation causes severe disruption of the optic stalk structure. These phenotypes were completely rescued by Fak56D transgene expression in the SG cells but not in photoreceptor cells. Moreover, Fak56D genetically interacts with myospheroid, which encodes an integrin beta subunit. In addition, we found that CdGAPr is also required for optic stalk formation and genetically interacts with Fak56D. CdGAPr encodes a GTPase-activating domain that is homologous to that of mammalian CdGAP, which functions in focal adhesion signaling. Hence the optic stalk is a simple monolayered structure that can serve as an ideal system for studying glial cell morphogenesis and the developmental role(s) of focal adhesion signaling.[1]


  1. Focal adhesion kinase controls morphogenesis of the Drosophila optic stalk. Murakami, S., Umetsu, D., Maeyama, Y., Sato, M., Yoshida, S., Tabata, T. Development (2007) [Pubmed]
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