Rearrangement of epithelial cell types in an insect wing monolayer is accompanied by differential expression of a cell surface protein

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The distribution of adhesive molecules on surfaces of cells represents covert information for specifying positions of cells within a tissue. In insect wing epithelia where cells are arranged in two monolayers separated by an extracellular space, these adhesive molecules are found on basal and lateral surfaces of cells. Protein 3B11 is one surface protein whose expression changes in concert with movement and alignment of cells in wing monolayers of Manduca as well as with migration of tracheoles between the two monolayers of the wing. As epithelial cells segregate into periodic, transverse rows of alternating cell types (scale cells and generalized epithelial cells), the expression of 3B11 changes from a uniform distribution throughout the epithelial monolayer to a distribution correlated with a cell's final position and phenotype. Initially protein 3B11 is uniformy expressed on nonadherent surfaces of cells, but with the inception of cell rearrangement, differential expression of 3B11 on basolateral surfaces of cells—both adherent and nonadherent surfaces—becomes a function of epithelial cell type. At the completion of the cell movements associated with segregation of cell types, 3B11 is once again uniformly expressed throughout the wing epithelium. Also, as the upper and lower epithelial monolayers interact at their basal surfaces during adult development, 3B11 is expressed at the interface between the two epithelial monolayers and presumably functions in the nonspecific interaction between these monolayers. Examining the expression pattersn of this protein as well as other adhesion molecules in wing epithelia should reveal general rules about either the simplicity or the complexity of the molecular prepatterns that orchestrate overt tissue patterns in epithelial monolayers. © 1994 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-325
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopmental Dynamics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1994


  • Cell rearrangement
  • Cell surface protein
  • Epithelial monolayer
  • Wing pattern formation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology


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