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Okumura, T., Fujiwara, H., Taniguchi, K., Kuroda, J., Nakazawa, N., Nakamura, M., Hatori, R., Ishio, A., Maeda, R., Matsuno, K. (2010). Left-right asymmetric morphogenesis of the anterior midgut depends on the activation of a non-muscle myosin II in Drosophila.  Dev. Biol. 344(2): 693--706.
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Many animals exhibit stereotypical left-right (LR) asymmetry in their internal organs. The mechanisms of LR axis formation required for the subsequent LR asymmetric development are well understood, especially in some vertebrates. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying LR asymmetric morphogenesis, particularly how mechanical force is integrated into the LR asymmetric morphogenesis of organs, are poorly understood. Here, we identified zipper (zip), encoding a Drosophila non-muscle myosin II (myosin II) heavy chain, as a gene required for LR asymmetric development of the embryonic anterior midgut (AMG). Myosin II is known to directly generate mechanical force in various types of cells during morphogenesis and cell migration. We found that myosin II was involved in two events in the LR asymmetric development of the AMG. First, it introduced an LR bias to the directional position of circular visceral muscle (CVMU) cells, which externally cover the midgut epithelium. Second, it was required for the LR-biased rotation of the AMG. Our results suggest that myosin II in CVMU cells plays a crucial role in generating the force leading to LR asymmetric morphogenesis. Taken together with previous studies in vertebrates, the involvement of myosin II in LR asymmetric morphogenesis might be conserved evolutionarily.

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    Dev. Biol.
    Developmental Biology
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