The International Journal of Developmental Biology

Int. J. Dev. Biol. 42: 33 - 42 (1998)

Vol 42, Issue 1

The expression of MDP-1, a component of Drosophila embryonic basement membranes, is modulated by apoptotic cell death

Published: 15 January 1998

M Hortsch, A Olson, S Fishman, S N Soneral, Y Marikar, R Dong and J R Jacobs

Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 48109-0616, USA.


Using a novel monoclonal antibody we have studied the expression of a large proteoglycan-type molecule in Drosophila embryos. This molecule is secreted exclusively by migratory, embryonic hemocytes/macrophages and was therefore named MDP-1 for Macrophage-Derived Proteoglycan-1. Expression of MDP-1 begins late during hemocyte differentiation, after these cells have left their birthplace in the head mesoderm. At this time, macrophages are engaged in extracellular matrix deposition and the phagocytosis of cell debris generated by apoptotic events in various parts of the embryo, in particular from the developing central nervous system. Embryos deficient for programmed cell death display a greatly reduced amount of MDP-1 deposition in tissues that normally undergo morphogenetic cell death. This suggests a regulatory role for apoptosis in the terminal differentiation of Drosophila hemocytes. MDP-1 is initially deposited around the developing central nervous system and is later found in basement membrane structures surrounding various other organs, such as the gut, Malpighian tubules and part of the tracheal system. The temporal and localized deposition of MDP-1 suggests that it may play a role in delineating the central nervous system structure during axonogenesis and may participate in the formation of a functional 'blood-brain barrier' in Drosophila.

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