Epithelial cell polarity and cell junctions in Drosophila

Annu Rev Genet. 2001;35:747-84. doi: 10.1146/annurev.genet.35.102401.091415.


The polarized architecture of epithelial cells and tissues is a fundamental determinant of animal anatomy and physiology. Recent progress made in the genetic and molecular analysis of epithelial polarity and cellular junctions in Drosophila has led to the most detailed understanding of these processes in a whole animal model system to date. Asymmetry of the plasma membrane and the differentiation of membrane domains and cellular junctions are controlled by protein complexes that assemble around transmembrane proteins such as DE-cadherin, Crumbs, and Neurexin IV, or other cytoplasmic protein complexes that associate with the plasma membrane. Much remains to be learned of how these complexes assemble, establish their polarized distribution, and contribute to the asymmetric organization of epithelial cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Polarity / physiology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology*
  • Epithelial Cells / physiology*
  • Intercellular Junctions / physiology*