An RNA interference screen for genes required to shape the anteroposterior compartment boundary in Drosophila identifies the Eph receptor

PLoS One. 2014 Dec 4;9(12):e114340. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0114340. eCollection 2014.


The formation of straight compartment boundaries separating groups of cells with distinct fates and functions is an evolutionarily conserved strategy during animal development. The physical mechanisms that shape compartment boundaries have recently been further elucidated, however, the molecular mechanisms that underlie compartment boundary formation and maintenance remain poorly understood. Here, we report on the outcome of an RNA interference screen aimed at identifying novel genes involved in maintaining the straight shape of the anteroposterior compartment boundary in Drosophila wing imaginal discs. Out of screening 3114 transgenic RNA interference lines targeting a total of 2863 genes, we identified a single novel candidate that interfered with the formation of a straight anteroposterior compartment boundary. Interestingly, the targeted gene encodes for the Eph receptor tyrosine kinase, an evolutionarily conserved family of signal transducers that has previously been shown to be important for maintaining straight compartment boundaries in vertebrate embryos. Our results identify a hitherto unknown role of the Eph receptor tyrosine kinase in Drosophila and suggest that Eph receptors have important functions in shaping compartment boundaries in both vertebrate and insect development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drosophila Proteins / genetics*
  • Drosophila Proteins / metabolism
  • Drosophila melanogaster / anatomy & histology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / embryology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / anatomy & histology
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian / physiology
  • Embryonic Development
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Imaginal Discs / anatomy & histology
  • Imaginal Discs / embryology
  • Imaginal Discs / metabolism
  • RNA Interference
  • Receptor, EphA1 / genetics*
  • Receptor, EphA1 / metabolism


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Receptor, EphA1