Planar cell polarity signaling in the Drosophila eye

Curr Top Dev Biol. 2010;93:189-227. doi: 10.1016/B978-0-12-385044-7.00007-2.


Planar cell polarity (PCP) signaling regulates the establishment of polarity within the plane of an epithelium and allows cells to obtain directional information. Its results are as diverse as the determination of cell fates, the generation of asymmetric but highly aligned structures (e.g., stereocilia in the human ear or hairs on a fly wing), or the directional migration of cells during convergent extension during vertebrate gastrulation. Aberrant PCP establishment can lead to human birth defects or kidney disease. PCP signaling is governed by the noncanonical Wnt or Fz/PCP pathway. Traditionally, PCP establishment has been best studied in Drosophila, mainly due to the versatility of the fly as a genetic model system. In Drosophila, PCP is essential for the orientation of wing and abdominal hairs, the orientation of the division axis of sensory organ precursors, and the polarization of ommatidia in the eye, the latter requiring a highly coordinated movement of groups of photoreceptor cells during the process of ommatidial rotation. Here, I review our current understanding of PCP signaling in the Drosophila eye and allude to parallels in vertebrates.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Polarity / physiology*
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism
  • Drosophila melanogaster / anatomy & histology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / physiology
  • Humans
  • Morphogenesis / physiology
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Invertebrate / cytology
  • Photoreceptor Cells, Invertebrate / physiology
  • Signal Transduction / physiology*


  • Drosophila Proteins