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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Aug 1;97(16):9093-7.

Gastrulation defective is a serine protease involved in activating the receptor toll to polarize the Drosophila embryo.

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  • 1Department of Cell Biology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.


The dorsoventral axis of the Drosophila embryo is induced by a ventrally restricted ligand for the receptor Toll. The Toll ligand is generated by a proteolytic processing reaction, which occurs at the end of a proteolytic cascade and requires the gastrulation defective (gd), nudel, pipe, and windbeutel genes. Here we demonstrate that the GD protein is a serine protease and that the three other genes act to restrict GD activity to the ventral side of the embryo. Our data support a model in which the GD protease catalyzes the ventral activation of the proteolytic cascade that produces the Toll ligand.

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