The establishment of planar cell polarity (PCP) in the Drosophila eye requires correct specification of the R3/R4 pair of photoreceptor cells, determined by a Frizzled mediated signaling event that specifies R3 and induces Delta to activate Notch signaling in the neighboring cell, specifying it as R4. Here, we investigated the role of the Notch signaling negative regulator Numb in the specification of R3/R4 fates and PCP establishment in the Drosophila eye. We observed that Numb is transiently upregulated in R3 at the time of R3/R4 specification. This regulation of Numb levels in developing photoreceptors occurs at the post-transcriptional level and is dependent on Dishevelled, an effector of Frizzled signaling, and Lethal Giant Larva. We detected PCP defects in cells homozygous for numb15, but these defects were due to a loss of function mutation in fat (fatQ805⁎) being present in the numb15 chromosome. However, mosaic overexpression of Numb in R4 precursors (only) caused PCP defects and numb loss-of-function alleles had a modifying effect on the defects found in a hypomorphic dishevelled mutation. Our results suggest that Numb levels are upregulated to reinforce the bias of Notch signaling activation in the R3/R4 pair, two post-mitotic cells that are not specified by asymmetric cell division.
- Drosophila eye development
- Planar cell polarity