The atypical cadherin Flamingo is required for sensory axon advance beyond intermediate target cells

Dev Biol. 2009 Mar 15;327(2):447-57. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2008.12.026. Epub 2008 Dec 30.


The Drosophila atypical cadherin Flamingo plays key roles in a number of developmental processes. We have used the sensory nervous system of the Drosophila embryo to shed light on the mechanism by which Flamingo regulates axon growth. flamingo loss of function mutants display a highly penetrant sensory axon stall phenotype. The location of these axon stalls is stereotypic and corresponds to the position of intermediate target cells, with which sensory axons associate during normal development. This suggests that Flamingo mediates an interaction between the sensory neuron growth cones and these intermediate targets, which is required for continued axon advance. Mutant rescue experiments show that Flamingo expression is required only in sensory neurons for normal axon growth. The flamingo mutant phenotype can be partially rescued by expressing a Flamingo construct lacking most of the extracellular domain, suggesting that regulation of sensory axon advance by Flamingo does not absolutely depend upon a homophilic Flamingo-Flamingo interaction or its ability to mediate cell-cell adhesion. Loss of function mutants for a number of key genes that act together with Flamingo in the planar cell polarity pathway do not display the highly penetrant stalling phenotype seen in flamingo mutants.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology*
  • Axons / ultrastructure
  • Cadherins / genetics
  • Cadherins / metabolism*
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism*
  • Drosophila melanogaster* / anatomy & histology
  • Drosophila melanogaster* / embryology
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Morphogenesis / physiology*
  • Motor Neurons / cytology
  • Motor Neurons / metabolism
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype
  • Sensory Receptor Cells* / cytology
  • Sensory Receptor Cells* / metabolism


  • Cadherins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • stan protein, Drosophila