Distinct roles for the actin and microtubule cytoskeletons in the morphogenesis of epidermal hairs during wing development in Drosophila

Mech Dev. 1998 Jan;70(1-2):181-92. doi: 10.1016/s0925-4773(97)00194-9.


We have found that the actin and microtubule cytoskeletons have overlapping, but distinct roles in the morphogenesis of epidermal hairs during Drosophila wing development. The function of both the actin and microtubule cytoskeletons appears to be required for the growth of wing hairs, as treatment of cultured pupal wings with either cytochalasin D or vinblastine was able to slow prehair extension. At higher doses a complete blockage of hair development was seen. The microtubule cytoskeleton is also required for localizing prehair initiation to the distalmost part of the cell. Disruption of the microtubule cytoskeleton resulted in the development of multiple prehairs along the apical cell periphery. The multiple hair cells were a phenocopy of mutations in the inturned group of tissue polarity genes, which are downstream targets of the frizzled signaling/signal transduction pathway. The actin cytoskeleton also plays a role in maintaining prehair integrity during prehair development as treatment of pupal wings with cytochalasin D, which inhibits actin polymerization, led to branched prehairs. This is a phenocopy of mutations in crinkled, and suggests mutations that cause branched hairs will be in genes that encode products that interact with the actin cytoskeleton.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton / drug effects
  • Actin Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Actins / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Body Patterning / genetics
  • Cytochalasin D / pharmacology
  • Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Drosophila / growth & development*
  • Drosophila / metabolism*
  • Genes, Insect
  • Hair / growth & development*
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Microtubules / metabolism*
  • Mutation
  • Pupa / growth & development
  • Pupa / metabolism
  • Tubulin / metabolism
  • Wings, Animal / growth & development*


  • Actins
  • Tubulin
  • Cytochalasin D