Bone Morphogenetic Proteins (BMPs) signal by activating Smad transcription factors to control a number of decisions during animal development. In Drosophila, signaling by the BMP ligand Decapentaplegic (Dpp) involves the activity of brinker (. brk) which, in most contexts, is repressed by Dpp. Brk encodes a transcription factor which represses BMP signaling output by antagonizing Smad-dependent target gene activation. Here, we study BMP-dependent gene regulation during Drosophila oogenesis by following the signal transmission from Dpp to its target broad (. br), a gene with a crucial function in eggshell patterning. We identify regulatory sequences that account for expression of both brk and br, and connect these to the transcription factors of the pathway. We show that Dpp directly regulates brk transcription through Smad- and Schnurri (Shn)-dependent repression. Brk is epistatic to Dpp in br expression and activates br indirectly, through removal of a repressor, which is yet to be identified. Our work provides first cis-regulatory insights into transcriptional interpretation of BMP signaling in eggshell morphogenesis and defines a transcriptional cascade that connects Dpp to target gene regulation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology
- Developmental Biology
- BMP signaling