Flamingo, a seven-pass transmembrane cadherin, cooperates with Netrin/Frazzled inDrosophilamidline guidance

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Abstract

During central nervous system development, several guidance cues and receptors, as well as cell adhesion molecules, are required for guiding axons across the midline and along the anterior–posterior axis. InDrosophila, commissural axons sense the midline attractants Netrin A and B (Net) through Frazzled (Fra) receptors. Despite their importance, lack ofNetorfraaffects only some commissures, suggesting that additional molecules can fulfill this function. Recently, planar cell polarity (PCP) proteins have been implicated in midline axon guidance in both vertebrate and invertebrate systems. Here, we report that the atypical cadherin and PCP molecule Flamingo/Starry night (Fmi/Stan) acts jointly with Net/Fra signaling during midline development. Additional removal offmistrongly increases the guidance defects inNet/framutants. Rescue and domain deletion experiments suggest that Fmi signaling facilitates commissural pathfinding potentially by mediating axonal fasciculation in a partly homophilic manner. Altogether, our results indicate that contact-mediated cell adhesion via Fmi acts in addition to the Net/Fra guidance system during axon pathfinding across the midline, underlining the importance of PCP molecules during vertebrates and invertebrates midline development.

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