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Science. 2011 Mar 4;331(6021):1154-9. doi: 10.1126/science.1200037.

Dynamics of Dpp signaling and proliferation control.

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Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Sciences, Geneva University, 30 Quai Ernest-Ansermet, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland.


Morphogens, such as Decapentaplegic (Dpp) in the fly imaginal discs, form graded concentration profiles that control patterning and growth of developing organs. In the imaginal discs, proliferative growth is homogeneous in space, posing the conundrum of how morphogen concentration gradients could control position-independent growth. To understand the mechanism of proliferation control by the Dpp gradient, we quantified Dpp concentration and signaling levels during wing disc growth. Both Dpp concentration and signaling gradients scale with tissue size during development. On average, cells divide when Dpp signaling levels have increased by 50%. Our observations are consistent with a growth control mechanism based on temporal changes of cellular morphogen signaling levels. For a scaling gradient, this mechanism generates position-independent growth rates.

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