Oriented Cell Divisions Are Not Required for Drosophila Wing Shape.

Current biology : CB (2019-02-26)
Zhenru Zhou, Herve Alégot, Kenneth D Irvine

Formation of correctly shaped organs is vital for normal function. The Drosophila wing has an elongated shape, which has been attributed in part to a preferential orientation of mitotic spindles along the proximal-distal axis [1, 2]. Orientation of mitotic spindles is believed to be a fundamental morphogenetic mechanism in multicellular organisms [3-6]. A contribution of spindle orientation to wing shape was inferred from observations that mutation of Dachsous-Fat pathway genes results in both rounder wings and loss of the normal proximal-distal bias in spindle orientation [1, 2, 7]. To directly evaluate the potential contribution of spindle orientation to wing morphogenesis, we assessed the consequences of loss of the Drosophila NuMA homolog Mud, which interacts with the dynein complex and has a conserved role in spindle orientation [8, 9]. Loss of Mud randomizes spindle orientation but does not alter wing shape. Analysis of growth and cell dynamics in developing discs and in ex vivo culture suggests that the absence of oriented cell divisions is compensated for by an increased contribution of cell rearrangements to wing shape. Our results indicate that oriented cell divisions are not required for wing morphogenesis, nor are they required for the morphogenesis of other Drosophila appendages. Moreover, our results suggest that normal organ shape is not achieved through locally specifying and then summing up individual cell behaviors, like oriented cell division. Instead, wing shape might be specified through tissue-wide stresses that dictate an overall arrangement of cells without specifying the individual cell behaviors needed to achieve it.