Development of the indirect flight muscle attachment sites in Drosophila: role of the PS integrins and the stripe gene

Dev Biol. 1996 Jun 15;176(2):166-84. doi: 10.1006/dbio.1996.0125.


Using markers that are expressed at muscle attachment sites, we have examined the early pupal development (first 36 hr) of Indirect Flight Muscle (IFM) attachments in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. Expression of the Drosophila homologs of vertebrate integrins, the Position-Specific (PS) antigens, is known to differentially mark epidermal (PS1alpha) and muscle (PS2alpha) components of the developing IFM attachment sites. During myogenesis, PS2alpha is detected transiently in imaginal myoblasts that fuse with persistent larval muscles to give rise to the Dorsal Longitudinal Muscles (DLMs), but not in myoblasts that fuse de novo to give rise to the Dorso Ventral Muscles. The integrins are not expressed at attachment sites when the muscle fibers first make their appearance (12-20 hr). Following muscle-epidermal contact, PS1 and PS2 are detected at muscle attachment sites. PS1 expression is at the muscle ends and also in the long epidermal processes that connect the developing muscle fibers to their sites of attachment in the epidermis, while PS2 expression is restricted to the muscle ends. Epidermal cells that will contribute to the adult attachment sites are defined as early as the third larval instar. Both anterior and posterior sites of attachment of the IFMs are marked by the expression of reporter beta-galactosidase activity in a P-element line B14.0, which is an insertion at the stripe locus. B14.0 (stripe) is seen in distinct domains in the wing and leg imaginal discs which give rise to the thoracic cuticle. The expression is maintained during pupal development. The B14.0 (stripe) expressing epidermal cells contact the developing muscle fibers, leading to the formation of the myotendon junction. We show that the dorsal and ventral attachment sites of one group of IFMs, the DVMs arise from two different imaginal discs (wing and leg, respectively), which may explain the differential effect of mutations such as bendless on these muscles. Attachment sites for the other group of IFMs, the DLMs, on the other hand, arise from one imaginal disc (wing). B14.0 (stripe) expression defines epidermal cells of the adult attachment sites and is likely to function during early events leading to the formation of muscle-epithelial contacts. The PS integrins are detected at later stages, suggesting a role in the stabilization and maturation of the muscle-epidermal contacts into myotendon junctions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Drosophila Proteins*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / growth & development*
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism
  • Flight, Animal
  • Genes, Insect*
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Integrin alpha Chains
  • Integrins / immunology
  • Integrins / physiology*
  • Larva / metabolism
  • Metamorphosis, Biological
  • Muscle Development*
  • Muscles / metabolism
  • Neuromuscular Junction / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors / genetics


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Drosophila Proteins
  • Integrin alpha Chains
  • Integrins
  • Transcription Factors
  • if protein, Drosophila
  • sr protein, Drosophila