Looking for Patterns in Fruit Fly Cell Development

Looking for Patterns in Fruit Fly Cell Development

Marlis Denk-Lobnig

MIT Department of Biology

To form a person or animal, the many cells that form the body have to work together and play their assigned roles during development. This image shows cells in a fruitfly egg that are changing shape together but to different degrees. The cell shape changes cause the fruitfly egg to form a completely new three-dimensional structure, in a process that models the formation of the brain and spine in humans.

The image showed us how the molecules that create cell and tissue shape change (the actin cytoskeleton, myosin motors and junctional attachments between cells) are activated in patterns across the cell sheet of about 1000 cells. Those molecular patterns are crucial to create a mechanical pattern of different cell shape changes and force the tissue into a specific new shape.

developing cells in a fruit fly egg

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