Two-step induction of chordotonal organ precursors in Drosophila embryogenesis

Masataka Okabe, Hideyuki Okano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


The chordotonal (Ch) organ, an internal stretch receptor located in the subepidermal layer, is one of the major sensory organs in the peripheral nervous system of Drosophila melantogaster. Although the cell lineage of the Ch organ has been well characterized in many studies, the determination machinery of Ch organ precursor cells (COPs) remains largely unresolved. Here we report that the rhomboid (rho) gene and the activity of the Drosophila EGF receptor (DER) signaling pathway are necessary to induce specifically three of the eight COPs in an embryonic abdominal hemisegment. The cell-lineage analysis of COPs using the yeast flpase (flp/FRT) method indicated that each of the eight COPs originated from an individual undifferentiated ectodermal cell. The eight COPs in each abdominal hemisegment seemed to be determined by a two-phase induction: first, five COPs are determined by the action of the proneural gene atonal and neurogenic genes. Subsequently, these five COPs start to express the rho gene, and rho activates the DER-signaling pathway in neighboring cells and induces argos expression. Three of these argos-expressing cells differentiate into the three remaining COPs and they prevent neighboring cells from becoming extra COPs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1045-1053
Number of pages9
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1997 Mar 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Argos
  • Atonal
  • Chordotonal organ
  • Drosophila
  • EGF receptor
  • Peripheral nervous system
  • Rhomboid
  • Sensory organ precursor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


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