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Dev Biol. 2008 Jan 15;313(2):844-62. Epub 2007 Nov 4.

Characterization of the Drosophila segment determination morphome.

Author information

1
Department of Computational Biology, Center for Advanced Studies, St. Petersburg State Polytechnical University, 29 Polytehnicheskaya Street, St. Petersburg, 195251, Russia.

Abstract

Here we characterize the expression of the full system of genes which control the segmentation morphogenetic field of Drosophila at the protein level in one dimension. The data used for this characterization are quantitative with cellular resolution in space and about 6 min in time. We present the full quantitative profiles of all 14 segmentation genes which act before the onset of gastrulation. The expression patterns of these genes are first characterized in terms of their average or typical behavior. At this level, the expression of all of the genes has been integrated into a single atlas of gene expression in which the expression levels of all genes in each cell are specified. We show that expression domains do not arise synchronously, but rather each domain has its own specific dynamics of formation. Moreover, we show that the expression domains shift position in the direction of the cephalic furrow, such that domains in the anlage of the segmented germ band shift anteriorly while those in the presumptive head shift posteriorly. The expression atlas of integrated data is very close to the expression profiles of individual embryos during the latter part of the blastoderm stage. At earlier times gap gene domains show considerable variation in amplitude, and significant positional variability. Nevertheless, an average early gap domain is close to that of a median individual. In contrast, we show that there is a diversity of developmental trajectories among pair-rule genes at a variety of levels, including the order of domain formation and positional accuracy. We further show that this variation is dynamically reduced, or canalized, over time. As the first quantitatively characterized morphogenetic field, this system and its behavior constitute an extraordinarily rich set of materials for the study of canalization and embryonic regulation at the molecular level.

PMID:
18067886
PMCID:
PMC2254320
DOI:
10.1016/j.ydbio.2007.10.037
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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