Shape of my heart: Cell-cell adhesion and cytoskeletal dynamics duringDrosophilacardiac morphogenesis

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The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster has recently emerged as an excellent system to investigate the genetics of cardiovascular development and disease. Drosophila provides an inexpensive and genetically-tractable in vivo system with a large number of conserved features. In addition, the Drosophila embryo is transparent, and thus amenable to time-lapse fluorescence microscopy, as well as biophysical and pharmacological manipulations. One of the conserved aspects of heart development from Drosophila to humans is the initial assembly of a tube. Here, we review the cellular behaviours and molecular dynamics important for the initial steps of heart morphogenesis in Drosophila, with particular emphasis on the cell-cell adhesion and cytoskeletal networks that cardiac precursors use to move, coordinate their migration, interact with other tissues and eventually sculpt a beating heart.

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