Dpp signaling thresholds in the dorsal ectoderm of the Drosophila embryo

H. L. Ashe, M. Mannervik, M. Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


The dorsal ectoderm of the Drosophila embryo is subdivided into different cell types by an activity gradient of two TGFβ signaling molecules, Decapentaplegic (Dpp) and Screw (Scw). Patterning responses to this gradient depend on a secreted inhibitor, Short gastrulation (Sog) and a newly identified transcriptional repressor, Brinker (Brk), which are expressed in neurogenic regions that abut the dorsal ectoderm. Here we examine the expression of a number of Dpp target genes in transgenic embryos that contain ectopic stripes of Dpp, Sog and Brk expression. These studies suggest that the Dpp/Scw activity gradient directly specifies at least three distinct thresholds of gene expression in the dorsal ectoderm of gastrulating embryos. Brk was found to repress two target genes, tailup and pannier, that exhibit different limits of expression within the dorsal ectoderm. These results suggest that the Sog inhibitor and Brk repressor work in concert to establish sharp dorsolateral limits of gene expression. We also present evidence that the activation of Dpp/Scw target genes depends on the Drosophila homolog of the CBP histone acetyltransferase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3305-3312
Number of pages8
Issue number15
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


  • Brinker
  • CBP
  • Dpp thresholds
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Sog


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