The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 62: 479 - 489 (2018)

Vol 62, Issue 6-7-8

Special Issue: Regeneration

Crawling wounded: molecular genetic insights into wound healing from Drosophila larvae

Open Access | Review | Published: 21 June 2018

Chang-Ru Tsai1, Yan Wang2 and Michael J. Galko*,1,2,3

1Program in Developmental Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, 2 Department of Genetics, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and 3Genetics and Epigenetics Graduate Program, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas, USA


For animals, injury is inevitable. Because of this, organisms possess efficient wound healing mechanisms that can repair damaged tissues. However, the molecular and genetic mechanisms by which epidermal repair is accomplished remain poorly defined. Drosophila has become a valuable model to study epidermal wound healing because of the comprehensive genetic toolkit available in this organism and the similarities of wound healing processes between Drosophila and vertebrates. Other reviews in this Special Issue cover wound healing assays and pathways in Drosophila embryos, pupae and adults, as well as regenerative processes that occur in tissues such as imaginal discs and the gut. In this review, we will focus on the molecular/genetic control of wound-induced cellular processes such as inflammation, cell migration and epithelial cell-cell fusion in Drosophila larvae. We will give a brief overview of the three wounding assays, pinch, puncture, and laser ablation, and the cellular responses that ensue following wounding. We will highlight the actin regulators, signaling pathways and transcriptional mediators found so far to be involved in larval epidermal wound closure and what is known about how they act. We will also discuss wound-induced epidermal cell-cell fusion and possible directions for future research in this exciting system.


wound healing, cell-cell fusion, actin, signaling pathway, Drosophila

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