Tubular epithelia come in various shapes and sizes to accommodate the specific needs for transport, excretion and absorption in multicellular organisms. The intestinal tract, glandular organs and conduits for liquids and gases are all lined by a continuous layer of epithelial cells, which form the boundary of the luminal space. Defects in epithelial architecture and lumen dimensions will impair transport and can lead to serious organ malfunctions. Not surprisingly, multiple cellular and molecular mechanisms contribute to the shape of tubular epithelial structures. One intriguing aspect of epithelial organ formation is the highly coordinate behavior of individual cells as they mold the mature lumen. Here, we focus on recent findings, primarily from Drosophila, demonstrating that informative cues can emanate from the developing organ lumen in the form of solid luminal material. The luminal material is produced by the surrounding epithelium and helps to coordinate changes in shape and arrangement of the very same cells, resulting in correct lumen dimensions.
Keywords: Apical extracellular matrix; Chitin; Lumen; Luminal pressure; Mechanical forces; Organogenesis; Tubulogenesis.
© 2013 Published by Elsevier Inc.