Analysis of the expression pattern of Mysidium columbiae wingless provides evidence for conserved mesodermal and retinal patterning processes among insects and crustaceans. Academic Article uri icon


  • The Wnt family includes a number of genes, such as wingless ( wg), which encode secreted glycoproteins that function in numerous developmental patterning processes. In order to gain a better understanding of crustacean pattern formation, a wg orthologue was cloned from the malacostracan crustacean Mysidium columbiae(mysid), and the expression pattern of this gene was compared with that of Drosophila wg. Although Drosophila wg is expressed in many developing tissues, such as the ventral neuroectoderm, M. columbiae wg (mcowg)expression is detected within only a subset of these tissues. mcowg is expressed in the dorsal part of each developing segment and within the developing eye, but not within the ventral neuroectoderm. Dorsal wg expression in Drosophila is required for heart and muscle development, and conservation of this dorsal wgexpression pattern suggests that mcowgmay function to pattern these tissues in mysids. Consistent with this, expression of Even-skipped (Eve) protein in heart precursor and muscle cells, which is dependent on Wg signaling in Drosophila, is also conserved in mysids. Within the developing mysid eye, mcowg is expressed in a pattern that is similar to the expression pattern of Drosophila wg in the fly eye disc. In Drosophila,Wg inhibits neural differentiation at the anterior margin of the eye disc and patterns the dorsal/ventral axis of the eye. These data indicate that mcowg may function similarly during mysid eye development. Analysis of mcowgexpression provides molecular evidence suggesting that the processes of heart, muscle, and eye patterning are likely to be conserved among insects and crustaceans.

publication date

  • April 2002