Acting on identity: Myoblast fusion and the formation of the syncytial muscle fiber

Su Deng, Mafalda Azevedo, Mary Baylies

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


The study of Drosophila muscle development dates back to the middle of the last century. Since that time, Drosophila has proved to be an ideal system for studying muscle development, differentiation, function, and disease. As in humans, Drosophila muscle forms via a series of conserved steps, starting with muscle specification, myoblast fusion, attachment to tendon cells, interactions with motorneurons, and sarcomere and myofibril formation. The genes and mechanisms required for these processes share striking similarities to those found in humans. The highly tractable genetic system and imaging approaches available in Drosophila allow for an efficient interrogation of muscle biology and for application of what we learn to other systems. In this article, we review our current understanding of muscle development in Drosophila, with a focus on myoblast fusion, the process responsible for the generation of syncytial muscle cells. We also compare and contrast those genes required for fusion in Drosophila and vertebrates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)45-55
Number of pages11
JournalSeminars in Cell and Developmental Biology
StatePublished - Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Actin cytoskeleton
  • Drosophila
  • Membrane fusion
  • Muscle development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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