Transiently reorganized microtubules are essential for zippering during dorsal closure in Drosophila melanogaster

Dev Cell. 2006 Sep;11(3):375-85. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2006.07.014. Epub 2006 Aug 17.


There is emerging evidence that microtubules in nondividing cells can be employed to remodel the intracellular space. Here, we demonstrate an essential role for microtubules in dorsal closure, which occurs toward the end of Drosophila melanogaster embryogenesis. Dorsal closure is a morphogenetic process similar to wound healing, whereby a gap in the epithelium is closed through the coordinated action of different cell types. Surprisingly, this complex process requires microtubule function exclusively in epithelial cells and only for the last step, the zippering, which seals the gap. Preceding zippering, the epithelial microtubules reorganize to attain an unusual spatial distribution, which we describe with subcellular resolution in the intact, living organism. We provide a clearly defined example where cells of a developing organism transiently reorganize their microtubules to fulfill a specialized morphogenetic task.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Patterning*
  • Centrosome / metabolism
  • Drosophila melanogaster / embryology*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian
  • Embryonic Development*
  • Epithelium / embryology
  • Epithelium / metabolism
  • Microscopy, Fluorescence
  • Microtubules / physiology*
  • Morphogenesis*