Wingless signaling induces nautilus expression in the ventral mesoderm of the Drosophila embryo

Dev Biol. 1996 May 25;176(1):143-8. doi: 10.1006/dbio.1996.9987.


The segregation of founder cells from the somatic mesoderm is a prerequisite for the formation of body wall muscles in the Drosophila embryo. The myogenic basic helix-loop-helix protein, Nautilus (Nau), is expressed in a subset of these founder cells in medial and lateral positions in the somatic mesoderm. Mutations in the wingless (wg) gene, which encodes a secreted growth factor, lead to the complete loss of Nau-expressing medial muscle precursor cell clusters, but not lateral clusters. Using the GAL4/UAS system, we demonstrate that the wg-derived signal can originate from either ectoderm or mesoderm to influence nau expression. By using a temperature-sensitive wg allele, we also show that wg function is required during and after gastrulation for the formation of Nau-expressing medial muscle precursor cell clusters. Our results, combined with recent studies from chick, suggest a conserved role for Wg signaling pathways during muscle development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alleles
  • Animals
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • Drosophila
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Ectoderm / metabolism
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / genetics
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Situ Hybridization
  • Mesoderm / metabolism*
  • Muscle Proteins*
  • Muscles / cytology
  • Muscles / embryology*
  • Muscles / metabolism
  • Mutation
  • Protein Biosynthesis*
  • Proteins / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Temperature
  • Transcription Factors*
  • Wnt1 Protein


  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Muscle Proteins
  • Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Transcription Factors
  • Wnt1 Protein
  • wg protein, Drosophila
  • nau protein, Drosophila