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Peng, Y., Han, C., Axelrod, J.D. (2012). Planar Polarized Protrusions Break the Symmetry of EGFR Signaling during Drosophila Bract Cell Fate Induction.  Dev. Cell 23(3): 507--518.
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Research paper

Secreted signaling molecules typically float in the outer leaflet of the plasma membrane or freely diffuse away from the signaling cell, suggesting that a signal should be sensed equally by all neighboring cells. However, we demonstrate that Spitz (Spi)-mediated epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling is spatially biased to selectively determine the induction of a single bract cell on the proximal side of each mechanosensory organ on the Drosophila leg. Dynamic and oriented cellular protrusions emanating from the socket cell, the source of Spi, robustly favor the Spi/EGFR signaling response in a particular cell among equally competent neighbors. We propose that these protrusive structures enhance signaling by increasing contact between the signaling and responding cells. The planar polarized direction of the protrusions determines the direction of the signaling outcome. This asymmetric cell signaling serves as a developmental mechanism to generate spatially patterned cell fates.

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PMC3482102 (PMC) (EuropePMC)
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    Publication Type
    Dev. Cell
    Developmental Cell
    Publication Year
    1534-5807 1878-1551
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