The Interactive Fly

Evolutionarily conserved developmental pathways


Dorsal-ventral polarity - Decapentaplegic: interacting proteins,receptors and downstream targets

The regulation of dorsal-ventral polarityis controlled in the fly by Decapentaplegic, acting downstream of dorsal.DPP is required for ectodermal dorsal-ventral polarity and the subdivisionof the mesoderm. In Xenopus, the DPP homolog BMP-4 inhibits two differentiationevents: the induction of dorsalmesoderm (Spemann's organizer) and the dorsalization of ventral mesoderm.BMP-4 knockout mice show no mesoderm formation.

In spite of their phylogenetically conserved function, the maternal mechanisms by which sog and dpp are activated in abutting territories in fly embryos (i. e., direct transcriptional threshold responses to the Dorsal morphogen gradient) appear to differ fundamentally from those leading to the complementary activation of chordin and BMP-4 in frog embryos (i.e., Wnt and Activin-like induction of goosecoid expression in the Spemann organizer leading to chordin expression dorsally, and FGF plus a low Activin-like signal inducing BMP-4 expression ventrally). In contrast, once the primary zygotic response genes sog/chordin and dpp/BMP-4 are expressed in abutting territories, they specify neural vs. non-neural ectoderm through a highly conserved mechanism. SOG functions by preventing DPP from autoactivating (reinforcing its own expression). How does SOG function as a DPP antagonist? As Chordin has been shown to bind BMP-4 with high affinity, the mechanism of Chordin/Sog function may be to bind and sequester BMP-4/DPP in an inactive form (See SOG for references).

Drosophila                  Homologs in other species ----------                  -------------------Decapentaplegic             Xenopus: BMP4                            Mammals: BMP2 and BMP4  Short gastrulation          Xenopus: ChordinTolloid                     C. elegans: hch-1                            Mammalian: BMP-1Tolloid related-1 (tolkin)  C. elegans: hch-1                            Mammalian: BMP-1Twisted gastrulation        Xenopus: xTwisted gastrulationThick veins                 Mammalian: type I TGF-ß receptorPunt                        Mammalian: type II TGF-ß receptorSaxophone                   Mammalian: type I TGF-ß receptorMedea                       C. elegans: Sma-4                            Xenopus: XSMad1                             Human: SMad4, also known as DPC4                        Mothers against DPP         C. elegans: Sma-1, Sma-2 and Sma-3                            Xenopus: XMad1 and XMad2                            Human: MadR1, DPC4, hMAD3 and hMAD4




date revised: 13 Oct 96

Developmental Pathways conserved in Evolution

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