Left-right asymmetry in Drosophila

Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2008 Jun;19(3):252-62. doi: 10.1016/j.semcdb.2008.01.006. Epub 2008 Feb 2.


Seminal studies of left-right (L/R) patterning in vertebrate models have led to the discovery of roles for the nodal pathway, ion flows and cilia in this process. Although the molecular mechanisms underlying L/R asymmetries seen in protostomes are less well understood, recent work using Drosophila melanogaster as a novel genetic model system to study this process has identified a number of mutations affecting directional organ looping. The genetic analysis of this, the most evolutionary conserved feature of L/R patterning, revealed the existence of a L/R pathway that involves the actin cytoskeleton and an associated type I myosin. In this review, we describe this work in the context of Drosophila development, and discuss the implications of these results for our understanding of L/R patterning in general.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Body Patterning*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / embryology*
  • Mutation / genetics


  • Biomarkers