Gastrulation is a complex process requiring the coordination of cell shape changes and cell movements. In Drosophila, gastrulation begins immediately upon cellularization of the blastoderm stage embryo with the formation of the ventral furrow and posterior midgut. Cells that form both of these invaginations change their shape via apical constriction. Embryos from mothers homozygous for mutations in the concertina (cta) gene begin furrow formation by forming a zone of tightly apposed cells, constrict some cells, and then fail to constrict enough cells to form an organized groove. The cta gene has been cloned, and sequence analysis suggests that it encodes an alpha subunit of a G protein. G proteins have a role in cell-cell communication as mediators of signals between membrane-bound receptors and intracellular effectors. The phenotype of embryos from homozygous cta mothers suggests that the cta gene plays a role in a signal transduction pathway used during gastrulation.