Delta and Notch are required for partitioning of vein and intervein cell fates within the provein during Drosophila metamorphosis. We find that partitioning of these fates is dependent on Delta-mediated signalling from 22 to 30 hours after puparium formation at 25 degrees C. Within the provein, Delta is expressed more highly in central provein cells (presumptive vein cells) and Notch is expressed more highly in lateral provein cells (presumptive intervein cells). Accumulation of Notch in presumptive intervein cells is dependent on Delta signalling activity in presumptive vein cells and constitutive Notch receptor activity represses Delta accumulation in presumptive vein cells. When Delta protein expression is elevated ectopically in presumptive intervein cells, complementary Delta and Notch expression patterns in provein cells are reversed, and vein loss occurs because central provein cells are unable to stably adopt the vein cell fate. Our findings imply that Delta-Notch signalling exerts feedback regulation on Delta and Notch expression during metamorphic wing vein development, and that the resultant asymmetries in Delta and Notch expression underlie the proper specification of vein and intervein cell fates within the provein.

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