RTK signaling modulates the Dorsal gradient

Aharon Helman, Bomyi Lim, María José Andreu, Yoosik Kim, Tatyana Shestkin, Hang Lu, Gerardo Jiménez, Stanislav Y. Shvartsman, Ze'ev Paroush

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The dorsoventral (DV) axis of the Drosophila embryo is patterned by a nuclear gradient of the Rel family transcription factor, Dorsal (Dl), that activates or represses numerous target genes in a region-specific manner. Here, we demonstrate that signaling by receptor tyrosine kinases (RTK) reduces nuclear levels and transcriptional activity of Dl, both at the poles and in the mid-body of the embryo. These effects depend on wntD, which encodes a Dl antagonist belonging to the Wingless/Wnt family of secreted factors. Specifically, we show that, via relief of Groucho- and Capicua-mediated repression, the Torso and EGFR RTK pathways induce expression of WntD, which in turn limits Dl nuclear localization at the poles and along the DV axis. Furthermore, this RTK-dependent control of Dl is important for restricting expression of its targets in both contexts. Thus, our results reveal a new mechanism of crosstalk, whereby RTK signals modulate the spatial distribution and activity of a developmental morphogen in vivo. 2012.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3032-3039
Number of pages8
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge)
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 15 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology


  • Dorsal
  • Drosophila
  • Gene regulation
  • Negative feedback
  • RTK signaling
  • WntD


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