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Matakatsu, H., Blair, S.S. (2004). Interactions between Fat and Dachsous and the regulation of planar cell polarity in the Drosophila wing.  Development 131(15): 3785--3794.
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It was recently suggested that a proximal to distal gradient of the protocadherin Dachsous (Ds) acts as a cue for planar cell polarity (PCP) in the Drosophila wing, orienting cell-cell interactions by inhibiting the activity of the protocadherin Fat (Ft). This Ft-Ds signaling model is based on mutant loss-of-function phenotypes, leaving open the question of whether Ds is instructive or permissive for PCP. We developed tools for misexpressing ds and ft in vitro and in vivo, and have used these to test aspects of the model. First, this model predicts that Ds and Ft can bind. We show that Ft and Ds mediate preferentially heterophilic cell adhesion in vitro, and that each stabilizes the other on the cell surface. Second, the model predicts that artificial gradients of Ds are sufficient to reorient PCP in the wing; our data confirms this prediction. Finally, loss-of-function phenotypes suggest that the gradient of ds expression is necessary for correct PCP throughout the wing. Surprisingly, this is not the case. Uniform levels of ds drive normally oriented PCP and, in all but the most proximal regions of the wing, uniform ds rescues the ds mutant PCP phenotype. Nor are distal PCP defects increased by the loss of spatial information from the distally expressed four-jointed (fj) gene, which encodes putative modulator of Ft-Ds signaling. Thus, while our results support the existence of Ft-Ds binding and show that it is sufficient to alter PCP, ds expression is permissive or redundant with other PCP cues in much of the wing.

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