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Science 308 (5720): 381-385

Copyright © 2005 by the American Association for the Advancement of Science

An Epidermal Barrier Wound Repair Pathway in Drosophila Is Mediated by grainy head

Kimberly A. Mace,* Joseph C. Pearson, William McGinnis{dagger}

Abstract: We used wounded Drosophila embryos to define an evolutionarily conserved pathway for repairing the epidermal surface barrier. This pathway includes a wound response enhancer from the Ddc gene that requires grainy head (grh) function and binding sites for the Grh transcription factor. At the signaling level, tyrosine kinase and extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) activities are induced in epidermal cells near wounds, and activated ERK is required for a robust wound response. The conservation of this Grh-dependent pathway suggests that the repair of insect cuticle and mammal skin is controlled by an ancient, shared control system for constructing and healing the animal body surface barrier.

Section of Cell and Developmental Biology, Division of Biology, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA.

* Present address: Surgical Research Laboratory, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143-1302, USA.

{dagger} To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: wmcginnis{at}

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