Research ArticleDevelopmental Biology

Regulation of Epithelial Morphogenesis by the G Protein–Coupled Receptor Mist and Its Ligand Fog

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Sci. Signal.  12 Nov 2013:
Vol. 6, Issue 301, pp. ra98
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.2004427

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Epithelial morphogenesis is essential for shaping organs and tissues and for establishment of the three embryonic germ layers during gastrulation. Studies of gastrulation in Drosophila have provided insight into how epithelial morphogenesis is governed by developmental patterning mechanisms. We developed an assay to recapitulate morphogenetic shape changes in individual cultured cells and used RNA interference–based screening to identify Mist, a Drosophila G protein (heterotrimeric guanine nucleotide–binding protein)–coupled receptor (GPCR) that transduces signals from the secreted ligand Folded gastrulation (Fog) in cultured cells. Mist functioned in Fog-dependent embryonic morphogenesis, and the transcription factor Snail regulated expression of mist in zygotes. Our data revealed how a cell fate transcriptional program acts through a ligand-GPCR pair to stimulate epithelial morphogenetic shape changes.

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