Drosophila imaginal discs (appendage primordia) have proved invaluable for deciphering cellular and molecular mechanisms of animal development. By combining the accessibility of the discs with the genetic tractability of the fruit fly, researchers have discovered key mechanisms of growth control, pattern formation and long-range signaling. One of the principal experimental attractions of discs is their anatomical simplicity - they have long been considered to be cellular monolayers. During larval stages, however, the growing discs are 2-sided sacs composed of a columnar epithelium on one side and a squamous 'peripodial' epithelium on the other. Recent studies suggest important roles for peripodial epithelia in processes previously assumed to be confined to columnar cell monolayers.
Copyright 2001 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.