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Gene Expr Patterns. 2011 Oct;11(7):456-63. doi: 10.1016/j.gep.2011.07.004. Epub 2011 Jul 28.

Temporal pattern of the posterior expression of Wingless in Drosophila blastoderm.

Author information

1
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Department of Biological Chemistry, University of California, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1662, United States.

Abstract

In most animals, the antero-posterior (A-P) axis requires a gradient of Wnt signaling. Wnts are expressed posteriorly in many vertebrate and invertebrate embryos, forming a gradient of canonical Wnt/β-Catenin activity that is highest in the posterior and lowest in the anterior. One notable exception to this evolutionary conservation is in the Drosophila embryo, in which the A-P axis is established by early transcription factors of maternal origin. Despite this initial axial establishment, Drosophila still expresses Wingless (Wg), the main Drosophila Wnt homologue, in a strong posterior band early in embryogenesis. Since its discovery 30 years ago this posterior band of Wg has been largely ignored. In this study, we re-examined the onset of expression of the Wg posterior band in relation to the expression of Wg in other segments, and compared the timing of its expression to that of axial regulators such as gap and pair-rule genes. It was found that the posterior band of Wg is first detected in blastoderm at mid nuclear cycle 14, before the segment-polarity stripes of Wg are formed in other segments. The onset of the posterior band of Wg expression was preceded by that of the gap gene products Hunchback (hb) and Krüppel (Kr), and the pair-rule protein Even-skipped (Eve). Although the function of the posterior band of Wg was not analyzed in this study, we note that in temperature-sensitive Wg mutants, in which Wg is not properly secreted, the posterior band of Wg expression is diminished in strength, indicating a positive feedback loop required for Wg robust expression at the cellular blastoderm stage. We propose that this early posterior expression could play a role in the refinement of A-P patterning.

PMID:
21821151
PMCID:
PMC3200307
DOI:
10.1016/j.gep.2011.07.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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