Rho GTPase function in flies: insights from a developmental and organismal perspective

Biochem Cell Biol. 2004 Dec;82(6):643-57. doi: 10.1139/o04-118.


Morphogenesis is a key event in the development of a multicellular organism and is reliant on coordinated transcriptional and signal transduction events. To establish the segmented body plan that underlies much of metazoan development, individual cells and groups of cells must respond to exogenous signals with complex movements and shape changes. One class of proteins that plays a pivotal role in the interpretation of extracellular cues into cellular behavior is the Rho family of small GTPases. These molecular switches are essential components of a growing number of signaling pathways, many of which regulate actin cytoskeletal remodeling. Much of our understanding of Rho biology has come from work done in cell culture. More recently, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster has emerged as an excellent genetic system for the study of these proteins in a developmental and organismal context. Studies in flies have greatly enhanced our understanding of pathways involving Rho GTPases and their roles in development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila Proteins / physiology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / embryology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / enzymology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism
  • Mutation
  • Signal Transduction
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins / physiology*


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • rho GTP-Binding Proteins