Generation of enteroendocrine cell diversity in midgut stem cell lineages

Ryan Beehler-Evans, Craig A. Micchelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


The endocrine system mediates long-range peptide hormone signaling to broadcast changes in metabolic status to distant target tissues via the circulatory system. In many animals, the diffuse endocrine system of the gut is the largest endocrine tissue, with the full spectrum of endocrine cell subtypes not yet fully characterized. Here, we combine molecular mapping, lineage tracing and genetic analysis in the adult fruit fly to gain new insight into the cellular and molecular mechanisms governing enteroendocrine cell diversity. Neuropeptide hormone distribution was used as a basis to generate a high-resolution cellular map of the diffuse endocrine system. Our studies show that cell diversity is seen at two distinct levels: regional and local. We find that class I and class II enteroendocrine cells can be distinguished locally by combinatorial expression of secreted neuropeptide hormones. Cell lineage tracing studies demonstrate that class I and class II cells arise from a common stem cell lineage and that peptide profiles are a stable feature of enteroendocrine cell identity during homeostasis and following challenge with the enteric pathogen Pseudomonas entomophila. Genetic analysis shows that Notch signaling controls the establishment of class II cells in the lineage, but is insufficient to reprogram extant class I cells into class II enteroendocrine cells. Thus, one mechanism by which secretory cell diversity is achieved in the diffuse endocrine system is through cellcell signaling interactions within individual adult stem cell lineages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)654-664
Number of pages11
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2015


  • Diffuse endocrine system
  • Drosophila
  • Neuropeptide
  • Notch
  • Stem cell


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