3 years ago

The Drosophila Ret gene functions in the stomatogastric nervous system with the Maverick TGFβ ligand and the Gfrl co-receptor.

Logan Myers, Thomas Kidd, Hiran Perera, Michael G Alvarado
The RET receptor tyrosine kinase is critical for the development of the enteric nervous system (ENS), acting as a receptor for Glial Cell Line-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (GDNF) via GFR co-receptors. Drosophila has a well-conserved RET homologue (Ret) that has been proposed to function independently of the Gfr-like co-receptor (Gfrl). We find that Ret is required for development of the stomatogastric (enteric) nervous system (SNS) in both embryos and larvae, and its loss results in feeding defects. Live imaging analysis suggests that peristaltic waves are initiated but not propagated in mutant midguts. Examination of axons innervating the midgut reveals increased branching but the area covered by the branches is decreased. This phenotype can be rescued by Ret expression. Additionally, Gfrl shares the same ENS and feeding defects, suggesting that Ret and Gfrl might function together to respond to a ligand. We identified the TGFβ family member Maverick (Mav) as a ligand for Gfrl and a Mav chromosomal deficiency displayed similar embryonic ENS defects. Our results suggest that the Ret and Gfrl families co-evolved before the separation of invertebrate and vertebrate lineages.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.1242/dev.157446

DOI: 10.1242/dev.157446

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