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Semin Cell Dev Biol. 1999 Jun;10(3):335-44.

Formation of morphogen gradients in the Drosophila wing.

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European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Meyerhofstrasse, 1, Heidelberg, D-69117, Germany.


Patterning of multicellular fields requires mechanisms to coordinate developmental decisions made by populations of cells. Evidence is accumulating that the necessary information is provided by localized sources of secreted signalling proteins which act as morphogens. We review evidence that Wingless, Dpp and Hedgehog proteins act as morphogens in the developing wing of Drosophila and discuss recent work illustrating that signalling helps to shape their activity gradients by regulating ligand distribution and by modulating the responsiveness of target cells. These studies suggest that there is more to being a morphogen than formation of a ligand gradient by passive diffusion.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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