Regulation of cell proliferation by a morphogen gradient.
ABSTRACT One model to explain the relationship between patterning and growth during development posits that growth is regulated by the slope of morphogen gradients. The Decapentaplegic (DPP) morphogen controls growth in the Drosophila wing, but the slope of the DPP activity gradient has not been shown to influence growth. By employing a method for spatial, temporal, and quantitative control over gene expression, we show that the juxtaposition of cells perceiving different levels of DPP signaling is essential for medial-wing-cell proliferation and can be sufficient to promote the proliferation of cells throughout the wing. Either activation or inhibition of the DPP pathway in clones at levels distinct from those in surrounding cells stimulates nonautonomous cell proliferation. Conversely, uniform activation of the DPP pathway inhibits cell proliferation in medial wing cells. Our observations provide a direct demonstration that the slope of a morphogen gradient regulates growth during development.
Article: Drosophila TIEG is a modulator of different signalling pathways involved in wing patterning and cell proliferation.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Acquisition of a final shape and size during organ development requires a regulated program of growth and patterning controlled by a complex genetic network of signalling molecules that must be coordinated to provide positional information to each cell within the corresponding organ or tissue. The mechanism by which all these signals are coordinated to yield a final response is not well understood. Here, I have characterized the Drosophila ortholog of the human TGF-β Inducible Early Gene 1 (dTIEG). TIEG are zinc-finger proteins that belong to the Krüppel-like factor (KLF) family and were initially identified in human osteoblasts and pancreatic tumor cells for the ability to enhance TGF-β response. Using the developing wing of Drosophila as "in vivo" model, the dTIEG function has been studied in the control of cell proliferation and patterning. These results show that dTIEG can modulate Dpp signalling. Furthermore, dTIEG also regulates the activity of JAK/STAT pathway suggesting a conserved role of TIEG proteins as positive regulators of TGF-β signalling and as mediators of the crosstalk between signalling pathways acting in a same cellular context.PLoS ONE 01/2011; 6(4):e18418. · 4.09 Impact Factor
Article: Loss of the BMP antagonist, SMOC-1, causes Ophthalmo-acromelic (Waardenburg Anophthalmia) syndrome in humans and mice.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Ophthalmo-acromelic syndrome (OAS), also known as Waardenburg Anophthalmia syndrome, is defined by the combination of eye malformations, most commonly bilateral anophthalmia, with post-axial oligosyndactyly. Homozygosity mapping and subsequent targeted mutation analysis of a locus on 14q24.2 identified homozygous mutations in SMOC1 (SPARC-related modular calcium binding 1) in eight unrelated families. Four of these mutations are nonsense, two frame-shift, and two missense. The missense mutations are both in the second Thyroglobulin Type-1 (Tg1) domain of the protein. The orthologous gene in the mouse, Smoc1, shows site- and stage-specific expression during eye, limb, craniofacial, and somite development. We also report a targeted pre-conditional gene-trap mutation of Smoc1 (Smoc1(tm1a)) that reduces mRNA to ∼10% of wild-type levels. This gene-trap results in highly penetrant hindlimb post-axial oligosyndactyly in homozygous mutant animals (Smoc1(tm1a/tm1a)). Eye malformations, most commonly coloboma, and cleft palate occur in a significant proportion of Smoc1(tm1a/tm1a) embryos and pups. Thus partial loss of Smoc-1 results in a convincing phenocopy of the human disease. SMOC-1 is one of the two mammalian paralogs of Drosophila Pentagone, an inhibitor of decapentaplegic. The orthologous gene in Xenopus laevis, Smoc-1, also functions as a Bone Morphogenic Protein (BMP) antagonist in early embryogenesis. Loss of BMP antagonism during mammalian development provides a plausible explanation for both the limb and eye phenotype in humans and mice.PLoS Genetics 07/2011; 7(7):e1002114. · 8.69 Impact Factor
Article: Drosophila insulin and target of rapamycin (TOR) pathways regulate GSK3 beta activity to control Myc stability and determine Myc expression in vivo.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Genetic studies in Drosophila melanogaster reveal an important role for Myc in controlling growth. Similar studies have also shown how components of the insulin and target of rapamycin (TOR) pathways are key regulators of growth. Despite a few suggestions that Myc transcriptional activity lies downstream of these pathways, a molecular mechanism linking these signaling pathways to Myc has not been clearly described. Using biochemical and genetic approaches we tried to identify novel mechanisms that control Myc activity upon activation of insulin and TOR signaling pathways. Our biochemical studies show that insulin induces Myc protein accumulation in Drosophila S2 cells, which correlates with a decrease in the activity of glycogen synthase kinase 3-beta (GSK3β ) a kinase that is responsible for Myc protein degradation. Induction of Myc by insulin is inhibited by the presence of the TOR inhibitor rapamycin, suggesting that insulin-induced Myc protein accumulation depends on the activation of TOR complex 1. Treatment with amino acids that directly activate the TOR pathway results in Myc protein accumulation, which also depends on the ability of S6K kinase to inhibit GSK3β activity. Myc upregulation by insulin and TOR pathways is a mechanism conserved in cells from the wing imaginal disc, where expression of Dp110 and Rheb also induces Myc protein accumulation, while inhibition of insulin and TOR pathways result in the opposite effect. Our functional analysis, aimed at quantifying the relative contribution of Myc to ommatidial growth downstream of insulin and TOR pathways, revealed that Myc activity is necessary to sustain the proliferation of cells from the ommatidia upon Dp110 expression, while its contribution downstream of TOR is significant to control the size of the ommatidia. Our study presents novel evidence that Myc activity acts downstream of insulin and TOR pathways to control growth in Drosophila. At the biochemical level we found that both these pathways converge at GSK3β to control Myc protein stability, while our genetic analysis shows that insulin and TOR pathways have different requirements for Myc activity during development of the eye, suggesting that Myc might be differentially induced by these pathways during growth or proliferation of cells that make up the ommatidia.BMC Biology 09/2011; 9:65. · 5.75 Impact Factor