Genetic control of epithelial cell polarity: lessons from Drosophila

Dev Dyn. 2000 May;218(1):52-67. doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1097-0177(200005)218:1<52::AID-DVDY5>3.0.CO;2-L.


The cell biology of polarized epithelial cells is a field of major interest to cell and developmental biologists. In addition to the study of epithelial cells in tissue culture, genetically tractable systems have been employed to examine the functional importance of individual molecules. Here I review recent progress that has been made using Drosophila as a model system to study apical-basal epithelial cell polarity. In this system, a large number of genes have been identified that are essential for the development and maintenance of the apical-basal polarity of epithelial cells in different developmental contexts. In this article, the recent progress in three models, i.e., establishment of the ectoderm and midgut epithelia during embryogenesis, epithelial polarity of imaginal discs, and epithelial development of the follicle cells during oogenesis will be discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Polarity / genetics*
  • Drosophila / cytology
  • Drosophila / genetics*
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology*
  • Intercellular Junctions / genetics*