Coordinated development of muscles and tendons of the Drosophila leg

L. Laddada, Q. Laurichesse, C. Soler

In drosophila, there are two phases of myogenesis. The first occurs in the embryo to produce the larval musculature. The second initiates in larval life to produce the musculature of the adult fly, including leg muscles, during metamorphosis after histolysis of larval muscles.  Virtually nothing is known about the mechanisms governing Drosophila appendicular myogenesis. However, our previous work showed that the complexity and the multifibre organization of the Drosophila leg musculature are similar to that of vertebrate muscles, making the development of Drosophila leg muscles an attractive model (Soler et al. 2004). 


A major finding of this work is that the specification of appendicular muscles is tightly linked to the formation of internal tendons, suggesting that tendon and muscle precursors (founder cells) interact during development to form the proper pattern of functional muscles.

In order, to better understand and characterize the molecular mechanisms involved in leg muscle and tendon development and in early interactions between precursors of those tissues, three mains approaches are followed:

  • We set up a RNAi screen based on leg muscle defects (using Mhc-GFP strain) to identify new genes involved in leg muscle/tendon development
  • Early interactions between tendon precursor and muscle founder cell (FC) are currently investigated by observing FC behaviour following tendon precursors disruption and ectopic tendon induction.
  • We are adapting the TRAP method (Translating Ribosomal affinity Purification) to imaginal discs to determine the unique translatome profiles in both tendon and muscle precursors during leg development. 

C. Soler, et al. (2012). The conserved transcription factor Mef2 has multiple roles in adult Drosophila musculature formation. Development, 139:1270-5
C. Soler and M. Taylor (2009). The Him gene inhibits the development of Drosophila flight muscles during metamorphosis. Mech. Dev.126:595-603. 
T. Maqbool et al. (2006). Shaping Leg Muscles in Drosophila: Role of ladybird, a Conserved Regulator of Appendicular Myogenesis. Plos One. 1:e122.
C. Soler et al., (2004). Coordinated development of muscles and tendons of the Drosophila leg. Development, 131, 6041-51.