The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 48: 207 - 215 (2004)

Vol 48, Issue 2-3

Special Issue: Skin Development

Genetic control of epidermis differentiation in Drosophila

Published: 1 April 2004

François Payre

Centre de Biologie du Développement, UMR5547 CNRS, Université Paul Sabatier, Batiment 4R3, 118 Route de Narbonne, 31062 Cedex 4, Toulouse, France.


In arthropods, the animal body is isolated from the external environment by a protective exoskeleton called the cuticle. The cuticle of young larvae has certainly been the most scrutinized structure in Drosophila and genetic studies of the pattern of cuticular extensions has provided the main source of our comprehension of the control of embryonic development. However, the complex structure of the cuticle remains poorly understood and analysis of the underlying epidermis has started only recently. Here I review different aspects of epidermis differentiation with the aim of presenting an integrated view of the organisation of the Drosophila integument. Although profound differences in epidermis organisation are observed across species, accumulated results suggest that epidermis formation and differentiation might share an unsuspected number of homologies between Drosophila and vertebrates.


Drosophila, integument, cuticle, epidermis, morphogenesis, cell polarity

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