Wingless promotes cell survival but constrains growth during Drosophila wing development

Nat Cell Biol. 2003 Sep;5(9):827-33. doi: 10.1038/ncb1041. Epub 2003 Aug 24.


During animal development, organs grow to a fixed size and shape. Organ development typically begins with a rapid growth phase followed by a gradual decline in growth rate as the organ matures, but the regulation of either stage of growth remains unclear. The Wnt/Wingless (Wg) proteins are critical for patterning most animal organs, have diverse effects on development and have been proposed to promote organ growth. Here we report that contrary to this view, Wg activity actually constrains wing growth during Drosophila melanogaster wing development. In addition, we demonstrate that Wg is required for wing cell survival, particularly during the rapid growth phase of wing development. We propose that the cell-survival- and growth-constraining activities of Wg function to sculpt and delimit final wing size as part of its overall patterning programme.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning / genetics
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cell Survival / genetics
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / cytology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / embryology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism*
  • Feedback, Physiological / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / genetics
  • Larva / cytology
  • Larva / growth & development*
  • Larva / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Wings, Animal / cytology
  • Wings, Animal / embryology*
  • Wings, Animal / metabolism
  • Wnt1 Protein


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Wnt1 Protein
  • wg protein, Drosophila