The eye-antennal imaginal disc of Drosophila melanogaster has often been described as an epithelial monolayer with complex signaling events playing out in two dimensions. However, the imaginal disc actually comprises two opposing epithelia (the peripodial epithelium, or PE, and the disc proper, or DP) separated by a lumen to form a sac-like structure. Recent studies expose complex molecular interactions between the PE and the DP, and reveal dynamic communication between the two tissues. Further findings suggest the PE makes important contributions to DP development by acting as a source of signaling molecules as well as cells. Here we summarize those findings and highlight implications for further research.
2009 Wiley-Liss, Inc.