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Cell Cycle. 2009 Sep 15;8(18):2917-25. Epub 2009 Sep 16.

Interpretation of the UPD/JAK/STAT morphogen gradient in Drosophila follicle cells.

Author information

1
Department of Biological Chemistry, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA.

Abstract

We are using Drosophila follicle cells to study the mechanisms that promote cell motility. Using genetics we identified a gene regulatory network that controls the dynamic pattern of activation of JAK/STAT in anterior follicle cells. Under the influence of a graded signal, Unpaired (UPD), JAK/STAT becomes activated first in a graded fashion. STAT, in turn, locally activates its own repressor, Apontic (APT), a new feedback regulator of JAK/STAT signaling. High levels of JAK/STAT also activate Slow Border Cells (SLBO), which undermines APT-mediated repression. In this way, cells that achieve a high JAK/STAT level maintain SLBO expression and form border cells, which then migrate out of the cell layer. Cells with lower JAK/STAT activity express more APT than SLBO, ultimately lose STAT activity, and remain in the follicular epithelium. To better understand how the graded signal is converted to an all-or-none decision to move or stay, we developed a mathematical model. Simulations using the model reproduce the observed dynamics of JAK/STAT expression in the wild type and in several mutant situations. By combining biological experiments and mathematical modeling, we can achieve a more sophisticated understanding of how cells interpret molecular gradients.

PMID:
19729999
PMCID:
PMC3021920
DOI:
10.4161/cc.8.18.9547
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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