Identification of a new stem cell population that generates Drosophila flight muscles

Elife. 2014 Aug 18:3:e03126. doi: 10.7554/eLife.03126.


How myoblast populations are regulated for the formation of muscles of different sizes is an essentially unanswered question. The large flight muscles of Drosophila develop from adult muscle progenitor (AMP) cells set-aside embryonically. The thoracic segments are all allotted the same small AMP number, while those associated with the wing-disc proliferate extensively to give rise to over 2500 myoblasts. An initial amplification occurs through symmetric divisions and is followed by a switch to asymmetric divisions in which the AMPs self-renew and generate post-mitotic myoblasts. Notch signaling controls the initial amplification of AMPs, while the switch to asymmetric division additionally requires Wingless, which regulates Numb expression in the AMP lineage. In both cases, the epidermal tissue of the wing imaginal disc acts as a niche expressing the ligands Serrate and Wingless. The disc-associated AMPs are a novel muscle stem cell population that orchestrates the early phases of adult flight muscle development.

Keywords: D. melanogaster; Notch; Wnt; developmental biology; muscles; niche; numb; stem cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Lineage
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Drosophila melanogaster / cytology*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics
  • Flight, Animal
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Mitosis
  • Muscle Cells / cytology
  • Muscle Development
  • Muscles / cytology*
  • Receptors, Notch / metabolism
  • Signal Transduction
  • Stem Cells / cytology*
  • Wings, Animal / growth & development


  • Membrane Proteins
  • Receptors, Notch

Grants and funding

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.